Einstein, Mack Dog, and the Interregnum

Two wise sages to support us into this interregnum – now that a 3rd March 2019 poll is predicted.

However, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if FauxMo were to call it sometime in February. St Valentine’s day is, perhaps, a tad too soon (and, anyway, it’s not a Saturday), but I still wouldn’t rule out February … after all, there might be the distraction of disasters, like cyclones and bushfires. Surely, Shirley, that would play best for the Coalition.

Meanwhile, I hope Mack Dog and the ghost of Einstein will – somehow – preserve us.

256 thoughts on “Einstein, Mack Dog, and the Interregnum

  1. The federal environment department had 40 meetings in six months with Adani representatives to discuss the Carmichael coalmine project, according to responses to a Senate estimates committee.

    The department met Adani executives in person at the company’s Brisbane offices, as well as conducting teleconferences, on matters including Adani’s groundwater management plans, the mine’s progress and proposals for the management of the threatened black-throated finch.

    The environment minister, Melissa Price, and energy minister, Angus Taylor, met the company once each in Canberra.

    The meetings occurred between 7 May and 7 November this year and were tabled by the department in response to questions on notice from the Greens senator Larissa Waters.

    Waters had asked at an estimates hearing in October if the department, minister or assistant minister had “met with Adani representatives or lobbyists in the past six months”.

    She said on Tuesday the number of meetings suggested the department was “holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process”.

    The number of meetings was evidence of the “cosy relationship” Adani had with the federal government, Waters said.

    “The environment department is supposed to be a regulator and protector of our environment yet it’s holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process to get this mega coalmine off the ground.

    “It shouldn’t be facilitating the development of a new dirty coalmine, it should be standing up for the best interests of our people and planet.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/11/adani-met-with-environment-department-40-times-in-six-months

  2. Who would have thought!

    Business Insider Australia and sister websites previously owned by Fairfax Media have been gutted by Nine as part of the merger, with more than half of the 50 staff made redundant.

    At least a dozen of the 26 staff who lost their jobs on Tuesday were journalists who produced Business Insider, technology site Gizmodo, entertainment and fashion site PopSugar and gaming site Kotaku. The other job losses came from sales, finance and other support functions.

    Sources said five journalists were let go from PopSugar alone.

    The redundancies, which were unexpected, are the first editorial jobs to be lost since the merger between Nine and Fairfax, but form part of the 92 job losses announced last week by Nine.

    Nine is moving fast to restructure the business, flagging on day one that regional newspapers including the Canberra Times are likely to be sold off because they do not target national advertisers.

    One of Nine’s properties, Pedestrian TV, will take charge of Business Insider and all the sites that were previously run by Fairfax’s Allure Media, with any remaining staff moving into Pedestrian’s Surry Hills offices next month.

    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/dec/11/nine-guts-fairfax-websites-after-merger-with-dozens-laid-off

  3. No kicking and screaming. Unlike ScumMo’s mob

    Senior members of Labor Left have called for Australia to increase its refugee intake while accepting the party will not change its policy on boat turnbacks at this weekend’s conference.

    With a push by Labor for Refugees activists to overturn turnbacks expected to fail, Labor Left MPs are instead focused on tweaks including enshrining principles for medical evacuations from offshore detention in the platform and providing a second chance for review of refugee cases determined under the “fast-track” process.

    On Tuesday Labor’s deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, told reporters in Melbourne that Australia must be “a more generous country” and Labor is committed to “ensuring we bring more people to Australia from countries of first asylum”.

    Labor’s shadow immigration minister, Shayne Neumann, has proposed increasing the refugee intake from 18,750 to 27,000.

    The assistant shadow schools minister, Andrew Giles, told Radio National that an intake above 30,000 was “within range” but said Labor should be “guided by the numbers” because settlement services must be in place to accommodate more refugees.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/11/labor-left-mps-call-for-australia-to-increase-refugee-intake

  4. Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, has said that there is “no room whatsoever for renegotiation”. Addressing the European parliament this morning, he said:

    I will see Mrs May this evening and I have to say here in the parliament, as I did say before in this Parliament, the deal we have achieved is the best deal possible – it is the only deal possible …

    There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation, but of course there is room if used intelligently, there is room enough to give further clarifications and further interpretations without opening the withdrawal agreement.

    This will not happen: everyone has to note that the withdrawal agreement will not be reopened.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2018/dec/11/brexit-deal-latest-theresa-may-eu-juncker-tells-may-deal-could-be-clarified-but-no-room-whatsoever-for-renegotiation-politics-live

    • in other words, Ms May, and all your Brexit confederates: the UK must now sink or swim.

      Magnificently played, Team Brexit …

  5. This Brexit fiasco is really breaking my heart these days. I listen regularly to James O’Brien, an English radio broadcaster that calmly commentates on all of this. And from what I hear from him, Brexit will amount to the first time in history – a country unilaterally enforcing punitive sanctions upon itself.

    O’Brien hosts a talkback program, so I’ve listened to him speak to pro-leavers a few of which admit openly that the main reason they voted to leave because “there were too many brown people” or other racist reasons such as that. He raised a good point last month too, stating that English nationalism was all about blaming minorities for the problems of the world.

    So, it seems that’s the reality that awaits the UK. On April 1, either it calms down, or it cripples itself with the equivalent of sanctions equivalent to a country that lost a major war.

    • I’ve also been listening to J O’B for the past few months I have enjoyed his commentary much. I’ve often thought of uploading some of his vids but I’m not sure if the folks here are than interested in what’s going on in the old dart.

      Thoughts anyone, yay or nay?

  6. More lunacy from the NSW government – we can’t have investment in ports, electricity providers, classrooms or hospital beds, but we can have oysters (oh yuck!!!) and Wagu beef.

    From Michael West –

    Surf ‘n Turf: State sells electricity, ports, roads – buys Wagyu and oysters

    The government is investing in oyster farms and Wagyu beef start-ups. Having privatised things which made a lot of money, like electricity assets and the Land Titles office, our leaders in NSW are now investing taxpayers’ money, alongside a posse of ex-Macquarie bankers, in a WA beef project and a South Coast oyster caper. Michael West reports.

    The government of Gladys Berejiklian has set up a fund, the GO NSW Equity Fund, to buy ownership stakes in private companies.

    Advised by a private equity firm called Roc Partners, which was spun out of Macquarie, NSW taxpayers are now the proud owners of a stake in Australia’s Oyster Coast and Roc Partners’ Stone Axe Pastoral fund. Michael Lukin, Roc’s managing partner is also the chairman of Stone Axe

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/surf-n-turf-state-sells-electricity-ports-roads-buys-wagyu-and-oysters/

    • Leone, I like oysters (how many furrlionz don’t? – yu iz obvs a nexceptshun).

      However, this latest ploy by the NSW gang look highly suss to me. Wouldn’t buy a noyster from them any time.

    • Yep, I’m a weird sort of feline – I don’t like seafood. I can’t get past the revolting appearance of oysters. Just looking at them makes me feel ill. I will eat prawns – not often – only if I know they are fresh and local, not imported and “thawed for your convenience”. I refuse to touch farmed fish, especially salmon, there are too many nasties in it for me. Local stuff that has been caught by someone I know and is really fresh is OK.

      On Sunday I had lunch with friends. Our host had bought a huge pile of prawns for his first course. I politely refused and allowed everyone to think I was allergic to prawns (I’m not, they just didn’t smell nice). Even worse, it was a shell-your-own thing, there’s nothing worse than having your fingers stink of prawns for the rest of the day.

      There definitely will not be any seafood on the menu here for Christmas Day.

    • You don’t have to buy “thawed for your convenience” prawns; just ask for the frozen ones out back.
      (Coles cracked open a new box for us last Christmas; I think we bought a kg of cooked Aussie king prawns.)
      Thawing them yourself isn’t as easy as it sounds – your fridge may have other ideas…

      I hate peeling prawns; isn’t that a chore that robots are supposed to free us from? They’re not worth it.
      I’ll take my chances with a ready-to-eat, “thawed for your convenience” prawn kebab – and a hot BBQ.

  7. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has personally approved 30 pay rises for senior staff.

    A total of 36 government and non-government staffers are getting paid above the top range in the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act, adding more than $1 million in extra costs.

    The figures were revealed in answers to a Senate estimates committee’s questions on notice.

    Six of the pay rise approvals came from former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    The total number is a jump of 10 from May after 26 staffers were then getting paid above the maximum range.

    Under their workplace agreement, government staffers can be paid a maximum salary of $259,000.

    The figures were correct as of October 24.

    Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull’s political knifing cost taxpayers more than $4.5 million in severance payouts.

    Almost $1.9 million went into the pockets of 35 staff who worked for the former prime minister, while 12 staff who worked for former foreign minister Julie Bishop received a total $562,062.39.

    https://www.perthnow.com.au/politics/federal-politics/scott-morrison-approves-paying-more-than-1-million-to-government-staffers-ng-b881047192z

  8. Worth watching the below clip. Angus is not across his portfolio…

  9. I’m reposting this down thread.

    I was replying to kd about James O’Brien who has a talkback radio show in the UK.

    I’ve also been listening to J O’B for the past few months I have enjoyed his commentary much. I’ve often thought of uploading some of his vids but I’m not sure if the folks here are than interested in what’s going on in the old dart.

    Thoughts anyone, yay or nay?

    This is a sample of him from July this year –

    • CK Watt

      Post away, I think of videos on here as the tv in the corner at most pubs, people will either watch or not. I watch and read what most post here because I trust the person who recommends it.

    • Keep posting. Videos are an excellent way of keeping us informed and up to date on what goes on overseas and different opinions are very valuable because they don’t just repeat what we can read in the MSM.

  10. Scott Morrison is hoping to scuttle any Labor health cuts campaign before it begins, offering the states a $1.25bn sweetener in his first meeting with state leaders since becoming prime minister.

    The health funding announcement, delivered ahead of Wednesday’s Coag meeting in Adelaide, forms part of Morrison’s attempt to keep focus on the economy as he inches closer to the federal election, with three Labor premiers in charge of must-win states.

    In a bid to head off Labor’s health cut campaigns, additional funding is being offered to governments, community groups, health and hospital services and research institutions to provide specialist services.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/12/scott-morrison-tries-to-ward-off-electoral-health-scare-with-125bn-sweetener

    • They’ve played Dan Andrews on the abc (I’m still recovering from the shock), and he pointed out the cuts since 2014 have been 2 billion in Victoria alone. So they’ve got a long way to go to make up for all the previous cuts.

    • Labor is promising $2.8 billion just for public hospitals.

      FauxMo cut funding for hospitals in every one of his budgets. Now he wants to throw a few crumbs back.

  11. Theresa May has said that her talks with EU leaders today have shown here that there is a “shared determination” in Europe to deliver assurances on the backstop that might satisfy MPs. (See 5.55pm.) But Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, both said the EU would not reopen the deal that has already been negotiated. And, after his meeting with May, Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, stressed how difficult it would be for the EU to give May what she needed.

    Numerous journalists are now saying they’ve been told that enough Tory MPs have submitted – or are due to submit – letters opposing Theresa May’s leadership to force a confidence vote. They are citing unnamed sources.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2018/dec/11/brexit-deal-latest-theresa-may-eu-juncker-tells-may-deal-could-be-clarified-but-no-room-whatsoever-for-renegotiation-politics-live

  12. Temper, temper!

    Donald Trump has said he would be proud to shut down the US government over his demands for a wall on the border with Mexico during an extraordinary public row with top congressional Democrats in the Oval Office.

    In the meeting, which was scheduled to be closed to the press but was opened to reporters at the last minute, Trump bickered with the US Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, and the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, about funding for the wall he has promised to build on the southern border, which has long been his signature policy position.

    “If we don’t get what we want, one way or the other – whether it’s through you, through a military, through anything you want to call – I will shut down the government,” Trump said during the heated exchange.
    Sign up for the new US morning briefing

    “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country,” he said before reporters left the room and a brief closed-door meeting began.

    Speaking after the meeting, Schumer characterized the display as a Trump “temper tantrum”.

    “This temper tantrum that he seems to throw will not get him his wall,” he said, adding that if Trump doesn’t change course, “he will get no wall and he will get a shutdown”.

    Much of the US government is still funded via a short-term continuing resolution, which will expire on 21 December. These areas include homeland security, the Department of Justice and the IRS. Without new authorizing legislation by that deadline, a partial government shutdown would be triggered. While Trump’s fellow Republicans control both the House and the Senate until next month, Democratic support is needed to pass any spending legislation.

    Trump has asked for $5bn for border security in a package to extend funding for the Department of Homeland Security until 30 September. Schumer and Pelosi were expected to offer just $1.3bn, less than the $1.6bn that had previously been negotiated in a bipartisan compromise in the Senate.

    During the on-camera exchange, Pelosi objected to the sparring, saying: “I don’t think we should have a debate in front of the press on this.”

    Trump repeatedly interrupted Pelosi and called her “Nancy” as she insisted he did not have the votes in the House to support the building of a wall anyway.

    Mike Pence, the vice-president, watched the fireworks from his seat next to Trump, but did not participate or visibly react.

    The showdown will be the last government funding before Democrats take control of the House in January. At that point, they will have significantly more leverage in future negotiations over keeping the government open.

    Trump has not followed through on previous threats to shut down the US government over border wall funding. But with his fellow Republicans set to lose control of the House of Representatives in January following Democrats’ gains in elections this month, Trump’s comments have raised the spectre of a pre-Christmas shutdown.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/11/trump-oval-office-meeting-pelosi-schumer-shut-down-government

  13. A group of glaciers spanning an eighth of the East Antarctica coastline are being melted by the warming seas, scientists have discovered.

    This Antarctic region stores a vast amount of ice, which, if lost, would in the long-term raise global sea level by tens of metres and drown coastal settlements around the world.

    Freezing temperatures meant the East Antarctica region was until recently considered largely stable but the research indicates that the area is being affected by climate change.

    The vast Totten glacier was known to be retreating but the new analysis shows that nearby glaciers in the East Antarctica area are also losing ice.

    To the east of Totten, in Vincennes Bay, the height of the glaciers has fallen by about three metres in total since 2008, before which no loss had been recorded.

    To the west of Totten, in Wilkes Land, the rate of height loss has doubled since 2009, with glaciers losing height by about two and a half metres to date.

    The data comes from detailed maps of ice movement speed and height created by Nasa from satellite information.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/11/east-antarctica-glacial-stronghold-melting-amid-climate-change

  14. I’d say the Nats are behind this

    A third-party organisation trying to unseat New South Wales National party MPs is under investigation by the state’s electoral commission – a move that has spurred its organisers to target federal Nationals seats, specifically Barnaby Joyce’s seat of New England.

    The commission has sent officers to the homes of co-founders of the newly formed third-party campaigner known as Anyone But Nats, which has urged voters to “put the Nats last” at the March state election.

    Mudgee-based IT businessman Charles Tym said the commission had issued a notice under the state’s Electoral Act informing him that investigating officers would inspect his financial records regarding donations.

    Two investigators arrived at Tym’s home on Thursday last week using the commission’s powers to determine whether the Electoral Act “is being or has been contravened”.

    Tym’s wife, Melissa Tym, is listed as the official agent of the organisation and former 2015 Barwon independent candidate Rohan Boehm is a co-founder of ABN.

    It is understood the officers visited another non-major party rural candidate in the same week about a number of complaints filed with the commission.

    A spokesman for the commission said the organisation did not comment on “specific compliance matters or whether it is investigating a matter”.

    Charles Tym said he would not be intimidated by the investigation and promised to take the organisation to the federal election, with a specific focus on Joyce’s electorate.

    “While the [commission] staff were professional and courteous, it was an unwarranted invasion of our privacy and bordered on an abuse of power,” he told Guardian Australia.

    “Even before they arrived, I had sent them all the relevant information and the officer indicated it would be the end of the matter.

    “It looks like the electoral commission are unwittingly doing the LNP’s bidding. It undermines the individual’s ability to get involved in the democratic process.

    “As a result we have decided to target federal National party seats with a specific focus on New England.”

    The commission officers told Tym they were investigating Anyone But Nats after a Guardian article on 24 October that stated his family had donated $20,000 to fund 400 advertising spots across regional television stations.

    Tym said he wrote to the commission on 9 November confirming that all donations had been made and recorded in line with NSW electoral rules.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/12/barnaby-joyces-seat-to-be-targeted-by-third-party-group-anyone-but-nats

  15. The Angus Taylor interview was a disaster.

    It might have been hilarious if I hadn’t kept thinking this fool is in charge of the government’s energy policy and he clearly has no idea what he’s doing. I don’t think he could even tie his own shoelaces without help. Is he one of the parliamentary R M Williams Boot Brigade, like Abbott? It figures why so many of these chaps favour elastic-sided boots, they don’t need to know how to tie laces.

    I don’t understand how someone as mendacious and as stupid as Taylor ever got to hold positions in big companies. It must be The King’s School Old Boys Network, because it certainly has nothing to do with intelligence, ability or merit.

    Taylor’s background includes being part of a taskforce set up by the Baillieu government to force the establishment of a Victorian coal seam gas industry.

    Background from 2014 –
    https://www.stockandland.com.au/story/3555065/gas-on-the-backburner/

    A profile of Taylor, also from 2014 –
    Pollie Watch: Angus Taylor, Liberal against renewable energy
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/pollie-watch-angus-taylor-liberal-renewable-energy-59689/

    It’s terrifying to think this fool is -or was – regarded as a Liberal “rising star” and a future PM. When we look at how all the other “rising stars” over the last few years have turned out it’s clear most of them were just over-hyped darlings of pro-Liberal media.

  16. More needs to be done to tackle employers outsourcing and subcontracting work to drive down wages, Labor’s shadow industrial relations minister Brendan O’Connor has suggested.

    In comments to be delivered at the National Press Club on Wednesday, O’Connor will make the case for expanding bargaining beyond a worker’s direct employer, arguing that many people are employed in workplaces without a union representative.

    The comments stop short of endorsing Australian Council of Trade Union demands for the option of industry-level bargaining but suggest Labor will consider a form of multi-employer bargaining in sectors that lack adequate industrial representation.

    O’Connor has been locked in negotiations with the ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, and the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, ahead of next week’s Labor national conference, with platform changes to respond to union demands to fix collective bargaining likely to be significant issues.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/12/labor-urges-crackdown-on-companies-outsourcing-work-to-drive-down-wages

  17. Adani met with environment department 40 times in six months
    Coalition ‘holding Adani’s hand’ through mine approvals, Greens senator says

    The federal environment department had 40 meetings in six months with Adani representatives to discuss the Carmichael coalmine project, according to responses to a Senate estimates committee.

    The department met Adani executives in person at the company’s Brisbane offices, as well as conducting teleconferences, on matters including Adani’s groundwater management plans, the mine’s progress and proposals for the management of the threatened black-throated finch.

    The environment minister, Melissa Price, and energy minister, Angus Taylor, met the company once each in Canberra.

    The meetings occurred between 7 May and 7 November this year and were tabled by the department in response to questions on notice from the Greens senator Larissa Waters.

    Waters had asked at an estimates hearing in October if the department, minister or assistant minister had “met with Adani representatives or lobbyists in the past six months”.

    She said on Tuesday the number of meetings suggested the department was “holding Adani’s hand through the approvals process”.

    The number of meetings was evidence of the “cosy relationship” Adani had with the federal government, Waters said

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/11/adani-met-with-environment-department-40-times-in-six-months

    Obviously the Greens see Adani as a vote winner and will do all they can to wedge Labor on the whole issue of coal mining.

    Labor needs to announce strong opposition to any new coal mines anywhere in Australia. They can keep on supporting those who work in existing mines but really should be talking about winding down the coal industry in Australia instead of constantly telling us we will be relying on coal for many years to come.

  18. The House Judiciary Committee has questioned Google chief executive Sundar Pichai over why, when you search the word “idiot” in Google images, a picture of US President Donald Trump comes up.

    “How does that happen? How does search work so that that would occur?” Democratic representative Zoe Lofgren asked.

    Mr Pichai answered earnestly that Google stores billions of pages in its index, takes the keyword, matches it against the pages and then ranks them.

    He said “things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it” play a part in how items are ranked so that, at any given time, that rank will show the best results for the Google search.

    “So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the users?” congresswoman Lofgren asked.

    “[Instead it’s a] compilation of what users are generating in trying to sort through that information?”

    Mr Pichai answered: “Last year we saw over three trillion searches, so we don’t manually intervene on any given search result.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-12/google-ceo-explains-why-searching-idiot-turns-up-trump-pictures/10609468

    • Hmmm – back at work so the sling has to reappear.

      Really there won’t be time to get those amendments debated before the election.

      The joint committee has to discuss them.
      An amendment act has to be drawn up.
      There has to be debate in both houses.

      All that has to happen before both houses get to vote. If a Dutton amendment bill ever gets to a vote I don’t think it would get through both houses. Is FauxMo trying to have grounds for a DD based on national security?

  19. We have a new U-spud.

    “Maritime” is front and centre, “Air”, not so much.

    blockquote>Peter Dutton has appointed Major General Craig Furini the new commander of Operation Sovereign Borders and argued against changing Australia’s offshore detention policies, saying boat turn-backs by themselves don’t work.

    At a press conference on Wednesday Furini and the outgoing commander, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne, both warned changes to Australia’s harsh policies of deterrence towards asylum seekers could be marketed by people smugglers to sell boat trips to Australia.

    Furini received a Queen’s birthday AM honour in 2017 for his role as director of coalition joint strategy on Operation Inherent Resolve fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

    Furini steps into the role as opposition parties and crossbench independents combine to challenge the immigration minister’s powers to refuse medical evacuations, a move the government paints as undermining one of the central planks of operation sovereign borders.

    In the final sitting week of parliament, the Senate passed a bill to allow two doctors to order a medical transfer, a decision that could be overturned by the minister before a final decision by an independent health advice panel.

    Osborne told reporters in Canberra the issue was “politically charged” and events in Australia – including on the floor of parliament – are “watched very carefully” by people smugglers.

    He said people smugglers can “take a particular comment to spin as a marketing tool”, even where “that is not true”.

    Furini said he was still forming his view, but reiterated that “everything in Australia is being watched and could be spun – correctly or incorrectly – to market illegal maritime arrivals”.

    Osborne confirmed he had briefed the crossbench last week to explain “the risks that they ran with various options they might consider”. He said he respected it was a democratic decision and did not present any option as “absolutely bad” or “absolutely right”.

    “Operation Sovereign Borders does not rely simply on an on-water response – it is a holistic system.”

    Dutton said turn-backs by themselves were ineffective. He criticised Labor’s line that “we’ll just turn back boats”, saying “it doesn’t work” because boat turn-backs needed to be accompanied by the message that people who arrived by boat would not resettle in Australia.

    The home affairs minister argued if Nauru became a “transit lounge” to Australia, thousands of asylum seekers would attempt a maritime journey.

    Dutton also said that more than 810 people had come to Australia from Nauru and Manus Island for medical assistance, “not very many” of whom had returned to offshore detention.

    “If [the medical issue is] elevated to the point that they need to come to Australia we bring them here – that’s exactly what happens now.”

    The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said Dutton was making claims “beyond the remit of the Phelps bill” by saying it would apply to future arrivals.

    “First of all, we have an issue around the current cohort. Again, what we’re proposing with the medical transfer bill I don’t think is a great departure from [what] already happens,” he said.

    “What is does is put down on paper what has been happening in a de facto manner already. I do believe that if a doctor says a very sick person needs to come to Australia, whilst the person is in the minister’s care, we need to operate in a transparent and fair manner. Again, all that we are doing is helping to codify, but we need to make sure it is transparent to all and transparent to the Australian people.”

    Recent Senate estimates hearings have revealed the government has spent more than $750,000 in 15 months responding to legal action by doctors and advocates seeking urgent medical evacuations that in many cases were repeatedly resisted by officials.

    Almost two thirds of the total amount were for cases in the three months to October.

    While some cases resulted in an out-of-court agreement to transfer patients, others were fought – all unsuccessfully – by the Department of Home Affairs. Some judgments included cost orders against the department, and stipulations that patients not be treated by the government’s offshore detention medical contractors.

    In November Guardian Australia reported international authorities, with the assistance of Australia, had “disrupted” at least 10 alleged attempts to transport almost 300 asylum seekers to Australia by boat in the past 14 months. Disruptions are the third arm of the Operation Sovereign Borders policy.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/dec/12/dutton-names-operation-sovereign-borders-commander-and-attacks-nauru-bill

  20. The Federal Government has been accused of unlawfully locking up an Aboriginal man in immigration detention and moving to banish him from Australia — the second such case in about four months.

    Lawyers for Brendan Thoms, who faces deportation to New Zealand because of his criminal history, have filed a High Court writ seeking his release and damages for “wrongful imprisonment”.

    He is the second overseas-born man of Aboriginal heritage since September to go to the High Court fighting his removal under Australia’s migration laws.

    Lawyers acting in both cases say they will press for a legal precedent that a “member of the Aboriginal race of Australia” under the constitution cannot be treated as an “alien”.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-12/deportation-awaits-aboriginal-man-held-in-detention/10605124

  21. We are being taken for fools – again – by FauxMo.

    Today the Prime Idiot announced Adelaide would be home to Australia’s new space agency. Obviously SA had to get the gig because all the other mainland states except NSW are in the hands of Labor governments, and NSW seems headed for a change of government. SA was the only option for a government desperate to hang on to power. There’s also another reason – an existing set-up.

    Adelaide beats stiff competition to host Australia’s new space agency
    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/adelaide-beats-stiff-competition-to-host-australia-s-new-space-agency

    There was no “strong competition” from other states, this was always a done deal.

    The Wetherill government had set up Australia’s first Space Industry Centre in Adelaide in September 2017.
    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-s-first-space-centre-launches-in-adelaide

    The South Australia Space Industry Centre’s website has now been taken over by propaganda about FauxMo’s announcement. You have to hunt to find information about the actual start of the centre and those who have been running it for over a year.

    It looks very much as if FauxMo is claiming all the credit for something a Labor government set up and Turnbull helped fund after the Libs won government in SA. The reports in the media today do not mention anything but FauxMo’s announcement today, they are obviously supporting the “make it look like it’s all his idea” plot.

    The space agency isn’t even news. Initial funding was in this year’s budget, nobody noticed. There was an announcement in September about Australia and France signing a joint memorandum of understanding to allow both governments to further joint development.
    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/technology/australian-space-agency-and-french-counterpart-sigh-mou/news-story/f7d1d4311b64b70c2b2158c39764740d

    And – Dr Megan Clark, who is in charge of the Adelaide Space Agency, was appointed to that position in May this year, when the whole program was launched by the Turnbull government. . Again, hardly anyone noticed.
    https://www.zdnet.com/article/former-csiro-boss-dr-megan-clark-to-lead-australias-space-agency/

    • The Libs are taking credit for everything Jay Weatherill’s ALP gov’t got going. Seeing as SA has been the go-to place for rocket testing since Woomera was set up, it is the natural home for a Space Agency. Scummo may well be helping his Lib mate, Premier of SA Marshall (I forgot his first name) he is more likely to be helping out Pyne.

      We also had/have some of those golf ball Pine Gap like buildings near Woomera. The secret squirrel things. I saw them in the distance when I was living on one of the sheep stations up near Woomera, in the 1970’s. I do not know if they are still used for anything.

      (hmm…If I am not here in the morning, you’ll know I have been visited Border Force.)

  22. Faking the news at Their ABC.

  23. Fifield running on empty, again

    The review – agreed in a deal between the Turnbull government and One Nation – found the public broadcasters competed fairly in the marketplace and abided by their charters.

    In a report released Wednesday, a panel led by retired economist Robert Kerr rejected every major claim against the ABC and SBS made by commercial media organisations, including News Corp and the free-to-air broadcasters.

    The ABC and SBS were not overstepping their charters by publishing free online news, the review found – though the charters were so broad it was “hard to conceive of an activity or program that could not arguably be fitted under the charters as they are currently written”.

    In fact, the charters compelled the public broadcasters to maximise their reach and become “significant” content providers across all platforms, Mr Kerr’s report concluded.

    Despite the ABC and SBS increasingly “rubbing up” against commercial rivals in a changing media landscape, the broadcasters complied with the principles of competitive neutrality and there was no evidence they were undercutting the market, according to the report.

    The Australian Government Competitive Neutrality Complaints Office has only received a single complaint about the ABC or SBS, which was levelled against the ABC in 1999.

    Furthermore, the review found the market share of the two broadcasters was not large, had not increased dramatically and did not pose any competitive concerns.

    The major source of competition to Australian commercial media outlets was international media, the report affirmed.

    In response, Mr Fifield acknowledged the ABC and SBS charters were broad and flexible. He noted the panel recommended the broadcasters be more transparent in how they report on their competitive activities and charter adherence, but indicated the government would take no action to enforce this.

    “It is now up to the national broadcasters to act on these recommendations,” Mr Fifield said.

    The Coalition government agreed to the inquiry as part of a deal with Pauline Hanson’s party to pass media ownership reforms. It also hit the ABC and SBS with another efficiency review, which Mr Fifield is currently sitting on alongside a review of local and children’s content.

    The inquiry’s failure to uncover any abuse of the ABC’s competitive position will be welcomed by the broadcaster, which has endured a difficult year rocked by the sacking of managing director Michelle Guthrie and resignation of chairman Justin Milne.

    Ms Guthrie had attacked the inquiry as an appeasement of the ABC’s commercial rivals who wanted the public broadcaster “corralled out of the digital landscape”.

    In particular, Fairfax Media – the now-defunct owner of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – complained the ABC had “undermined the level playing field” in Australian media through its “aggressive expansion” into digital news.

    Mr Kerr’s report found the ABC and SBS were simply following their amended charters, which have included digital media since 2013, and responding to changing consumer preferences.

    Mr Kerr said debate about the ABC and SBS charters “will not fade away”, and that the broadcasters were likely to keep expanding their operations, constrained only by their respective budgets.

    To that end, Mr Kerr recommended the government consider options for a long-term funding model for the ABC and SBS, rather than agreements that are renegotiated every three years.

    In a statement, the ABC welcomed the report for “recognising that the ABC should be able to adapt to new and emerging technology and audience behaviours”, and said it would consider the recommendations.

    A retired economist, Mr Kerr held a senior role in the Productivity Commission in the Howard years before running Victoria’s competition agency.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/review-clears-abc-and-sbs-over-claims-they-compete-unfairly-with-commercial-rivals-20181212-p50lpj.html

  24. I hate to defend the NSW government, but the story about NSW public housing tenants having to find a job or lose their housing was a complete beat-up by (surprise, surprise) Channel 7 and the Murdoch rags. What is actually happening is a three year trial program involving 20 properties over two locations. Tenants will be fast-tracked up the queue into public housing, given a six month lease on condition they find work or undertake TAFE or other studies and meet other conditions. If they don’t then they are to be evicted. I can’t see many tenants wanting to sign up to such a one-sided agreement.

    It’s another brainfart from Prue Goward, the most inappropriate minster for family and community services ever.

  25. @CK Watt

    Nice to hear you listen to J O’B too. His shows are fairly good entertainment and informative, mainly because he’s one of the few voices of reason willing to get down and dirty with what he calls “Gammon” (basically stupid nationalists who swallow and spit out lies).

    • At times he comes across as arogant, argumentative and picky but I see it as he does not let people get away with generic motherhood type statements and spurious claims without evidence.

      He will stop someone midway through a sentence and ask for futher info which at times makes it hard to listen to but I find his programmes very informative and elightening.

  26. Here’s a video I came across the other month that I found amusing. It’s 2017 politics, but still a fantastic impression.

  27. I will be at the ALP National Conference in Adelaide. If any pubsters who will be here want to meet for coffee or just to say hello I can be available. I will post an incognito email address on here next week if Pubsters want to contact me, or go through our wonderful Mine Hosts.

  28. Staff bonuses are much more important than border protection – or so FauxMo thinks.

    PM signs off on pay rises for 30 senior staff
    More than $1 million is being handed to government staffers getting paid above the maximum allowance, with 30 bonuses signed off by Scott Morrison.
    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/pm-signs-off-on-pay-rises-for-30-senior-staff

    And – a whole new meaning to “I stopped the boats”.

    Stop the boats: Email exposes Border Force plans to save money by halting ocean patrols

    The Australian Border Force plans to save money on fuel by pulling ships from ocean patrols, amid a high-stakes political fight between the Morrison government and Labor over border security policy.

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age has sighted an internal Border Force email stating that “operational limitations” will be imposed to achieve a saving in the annual fuel budget and “ships will cease active patrolling to achieve this fuel saving”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/stop-the-boats-email-exposes-border-force-plans-to-save-money-by-halting-ocean-patrols-20181211-p50lis.html

    Also revealed – “Border Force’s flagship Ocean Shield vessel is expected to maintain its position at sea but not conduct patrols”.

    So does that mean the ship will just sail out to sea, drop anchor and sit there while the staff play poker in the mess or sunbathe on deck?

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