Children’s Literature

I was one of those painful children who was a VERY early reader. And I devoured books from at least the age of 3. Even books that my parents’ friends considered unsuitable … so, what was a problem about reading ‘Lolita’ when I was 10?

One of the delights of my childhood was our regular schedule: payday, we’d do dinner at Happy’s Restaurant in Garema Place. I’d then be allowed to choose a Puffin Book all by myself at Verity Hewitt’s Bookshop. Non-Friday night payday, we’d visit the local library, and I would have finished reading my two books by Saturday night. Throughout my late childhood and adult life, however, I have ALWAYS revisited my favourite children’s fiction, and each time re-reading has revealed different, sometimes surprising, nuances.

Which is why I was so delighted to read this from another WordPress blogger – Calmgrove:

For the readership the books were originally aimed at doubtless they were entertaining, but for all their superficial fantasy they also portrayed a reality — the threat of nuclear holocaust, the nature of authoritarian parenting, the evils of totalitarianism — that could upset any rose-tinted view that assumed that all was right with the world.

And that’s why it’s so important that children read, have access to books, to libraries, to classrooms where such fiction is held in esteem. For here, without the bitter pill Victorian novelists forced children to read, are deeply moral narratives. Here there may be crises to face and wicked antagonists popping out of the woodwork; but there won’t be the piety that accompanied too many tales from the 19th century, stories in which the protagonist suffered calamities and atrocities with a reverential quietude and passivity, accepting the fate that a noble sacrifice might offer.

No, as the 20th century proceeded the protagonist (other than the gung-ho British bulldog type who might show natives and the lower classes his superiority with feats of derring-do) would increasingly exhibit humanitarian values and a sense of compassion, combined with a bravery that wouldn’t require outstanding physical prowess or a privileged education. Nesbit’s children’s books are regarded as marking a sea-change from the piety of Victorian and Edwardian literature written to improve children to a more realist yet sympathetic fiction written with their innate sense of fairness in mind.

I generalise of course. But think of the classics that stand the test of time: in the main they are the ones that are based on moral outrage against injustice, war, deprivation, waste, greed, and so on. Whether the scenario is small-scale — family-based, perhaps, maybe in a school — or of epic proportions, stretching across continents, such narratives share the values of many traditional fairytales: standing up for what’s right, and recognising responsibilities.

In an era when most of our daily news stories concern the apparent success that arises from cheating, bullying, lying, exploitation and abuse, and when much contemporary adult fiction seems to end in tragedy or at the very least ambiguity, is it not important for all our sakes to counter that with alternatives? I don’t mean the saccharine endings of romcoms or the impossible triumph, against all the odds, of plucky outsiders over supervillains in the apocalyptic final reel; I’m thinking instead of the child hero who learns to do what is right because…

Well, just because.

My response – from my heart:

For me, children’s lit, fables, legends, etc., has always been about subtly teaching children how to deal with dangerous emotions, with adversity, and with despair. (One of the worst things I think my late unlamented mother-in-law did to my spouse was to refuse to read him – and refuse to let him read – ‘fairy tales’, because they weren’t “true”.)

The starkest example I’ve experienced about the value of children’s lit in this domain was the publication of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”.

That was back in 2003, at the height of the propaganda, gaslighting, and downright dishonesty about the “Coalition’s” purported and actual reasons for the invasion and – almost – destruction of Iraq.

– The intolerance of anyone who disagreed.
– The ill-treatment of anyone who disagreed.
– The calmunies directed towards anyone who disagreed.

And, as I read that book, I thought, “Yes, sounds SO like Bush (US), Blair (UK), and Howard (my Oz PM).” Lie after lie after lie, vilification of anyone disagreeing, and the intense desire to destroy anyone disagreeing with their vile stance.

It didn’t – quite – work then.

Now, however?

1,383 thoughts on “Children’s Literature

  1. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    Shane Wright and Jennifer Duke report that work by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests the government’s promised budget surplus is already gone with the economy at dire risk of succumbing to a recession. It is possible the deficit could hit $25b.
    In what is quite a pile on, Michael Pascoe tells us how the economy is tumbling as Morrison spins.
    The Guardian explores what the government might do with stimulus.
    Lindsay Tanner’s former deputy chief of staff during the GFC, Angela Jackson, declares that our economy needs serious help, and it needs it now.
    The economy depends on exports and government spending – we are not prepared for the impact of the coronavirus writes Greg Jericho who says that households and businesses are woefully unready to keep Australia’s economy afloat.
    Coronavirus is not the villain. Australia’s economy was already on a precipice says Richard Denniss.
    Travel restrictions on Italy and South Korea are being considered at the highest levels of the Morrison government reports Eryk Bagshaw.
    Australia is rightly acting with tough measures to control the COVID-19 outbreak, but it is not an excuse to suspend fundamental human rights explains healthcare ethicist Xavier Symons.
    Katharine Murphy looks at the terrible morning Sports Australia and the government had at Estimates yesterday.
    Phil Coorey says that the government’s gentle turning point is about to become an S-bend.
    Treasury has drawn up coronavirus stimulus options running into billions of dollars to cushion the economy through a weak patch that the Treasurer said would extend beyond the current March quarter writes the AFR’s John Kehoe.
    Nick Bonyhady describes the trouble the not much loved Fair Work Commission got into at Estimates yesterday.
    Graham Readfearn writes that the hot and dry conditions that helped drive Australia’s bushfire crisis would be eight times more likely to happen if global heating reached 2C, according to new analysis.
    While retirees hoard too much wealth, the rest of us don’t need to plough any more of our incomes into superannuation. We need it buy homes and to live on writes Jess Irvine.
    Chief Medical Officer and incoming Department of Health boss Brendan Murphy says Australia has a surplus of doctors, despite shortages of general practitioners in regional areas.
    A furious row has erupted over emergency coronavirus funding between the NSW and federal health ministers after an outbreak at a Sydney aged-care facility caused an exodus of staff who refused­ to turn up for work.
    The Canberra Times editorial is concerned that uninformed panic will do more damage than the coronavirus itself.
    Global health official Jane Halton says it is almost inevitable the coronavirus will spread across Australia and warned of a looming fight between rich and poor countries over a vaccine.
    The Conversation asked four experts to explain why Australians are stocking up on toilet paper.
    Treasurer Rob Lucas has painted a grim picture of South Australia’s economic fortunes, flagging further increases in already-record levels of state debt as he seeks to deliver the Marshall Government’s infrastructure commitments.
    Noel Towell tells us that today the high profile human rights barrister Julian Burnside will launch a bid to replace Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale as one of the party’s senators for Victoria. But he’s up against stiff opposition.
    A country tennis club that missed out on funding under the federal government’s botched sports grants program is taking on the Australian Sports Commission in landmark legal action expected to pave the way for other clubs who believe they were dudded in the process.
    In a beautifully calm contribution to Estimates yesterday Chief of Defence Force Angus Campbell sais he personally told Scott Morrison he had concerns with the Prime Minister’s office using ADF material in a social media video posted at the height of the bushfire crisis.
    An unfolding scandal in the Aust­ralian Border Force looks set to drag in a policy adviser and friend of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton over allegations the ABF victimised a female officer over an office affair, leaving her suicidal, while ABF bosses continue to support her former lover.
    Dana McCauley reports that aged care facilities dubbed to be at risk of allowing the coronavirus to spread will be audited by the national regulator to ensure they lift their game, as the sector braces for more cases of COVID-19. How the regulator does this will be interesting to watch.
    Patrick Hatch lists the companies that have been most affected by the coronavirus problem.
    Geoff Hanmer is concerned that NSW’s building certification bill still lets developers off the hook.
    Christopher Knaus says that environmental campaigners say a cocktail night involving the fossil fuel industry and federal politicians represents an “insidious” lobbying effort to undermine climate action.
    Based on the NSW Government’s failure to comply with safety recommendations, the Narrabri Gas Project is unsafe and should be halted, writes Johanna Evans and Anna Christie.,13658
    Handing France’s Naval Group the $80bn Future Submarine project without a Plan B has effect­ively left the nation “captured” by the company, the government’s Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board says.
    The interim report by the parliamentary inquiry into audit quality has made 10 recommendations to improve the standard of auditing and company reporting. The committee is now set to hold two more public hearings before handing down its final report in September.
    Recently, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton described Islamic terrorism as “Left-wing” and LNP senators complained that the head of ASIO referred to “Right-wing” extremists in a way that upset “conservative” Australians, Martin Hirst reports.,13654
    Construction giant John Holland is pushing back against a Victorian government demand that it be financially liable for cost blowouts building the North East Link in a move that could sideline the construction company from Victoria’s most expensive road project.
    The SMH editorial is very pleased that there is justice at last for those affected by the military’s toxic fire retardant.
    Hazard reduction burns are useful, but they won’t solve the bushfire crisis writes Nick Goldie.,13655
    Cait Kelly reports that two research papers are further highlighting how humans contribute to the climate crisis, with scientists in one of the new studies saying they can prove Australia’s latest bushfire disaster is linked to man-made climate change.
    All of a sudden, the government has discovered “technology” – they just don’t know what to do with it writes Kaye Lee who reckons the government’s technology road map might just be a road map for coal.
    Sarah Berry reveals that on Obesity Day all countries around the world are unlikely to meet the 2025 targets set by the World Health Organisation. In Australia, the picture is already worrying, with one in three Australian adults obese in 2017-18.
    Judith Ireland writes that domestic violence specialists say the safety of Australian women and children would dramatically improve “within weeks” if federal and state governments provided more funds for frontline services such as perpetrator intervention programs and more training for doctors, police and lawyers to identify women at immediate risk of violence.
    Matthew Knott tells us that Bloomberg has pulled out of the race and put himself behind Biden.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Alan Moir

    Peter Broelman

    Andrew Dyson

    John Shakespeare

    Matt Golding

    Glen Le Lievre

    Leak springs to Morrison’s defence.

    From the US

  2. Is global health official Jane Halton the same Jane Halton who was head of department of Health after verifying that refugees had thrown their children overboard. Later shown to be a pack of lies.

  3. “The Conversation asked four experts to explain why Australians are stocking up on toilet paper.”

    Honestly, those “experts” have NFI.

    It’s got nothing to do with stress or people needing comfort, and who waits until they have run out before they buy more? Maybe single blokes might, (it’s telling that three of those “experts” were male and probably never do the household shopping) but anyone who has raised kids knows how important adequate stocks of bum fodder are. As does anyone who has a pet with a liking for destroying toilet rolls.

    People have been stocking up for one of two reasons.

    1 – They are sheep who believe all the “you’d better prepare to be isolated in your home for months because most of the country is going to be infected and there will be no-one left to make deliveries, harvest crops or manufacture toilet paper” hype. That hype is becoming more ludicrous every day.

    2 – They see a chance to make a fast buck on eBay.

    This morning someone in Australia had listed a 36 roll pack of Quilton (proudly made in Australia) for $130. That size pack usually sells for around $14 – $17 in supermarkets. Chemist Warehouse have it for sale online for $16.50. Even better, Big W sells it for $14, when they have stock. Right now my local Big W is out. I wonder why?

    Australians should have no problems buying locally produced toilet paper. If everyone stopped panicking those shelves would not be bare.

    Prepare for the big slump in toilet paper sales as all the sheep work through their stockpiles.

    • Update – someone is trying to sell 30 rolls of Quilton for a starting bid of $500. The buy it now price is $1000.

      No bids so far. Unlikely to be any.

  4. GPs are fed up with the government’s inadequate response to the coronavirus crisis –

    Desperate GPs say they are resorting to shopping at Bunnings to buy face masks to guard against coronavirus because too few government supplies are getting to clinics and traditional stockists have sold out.

    Doctors are also relying on Twitter and Facebook to stay informed about the outbreak because, they say, official government communication is inconsistent and unclear.

    The risks to frontline health workers have been highlighted after 40 staff from Sydney’s Ryde Hospital were ordered into home quarantine because they had interacted with a doctor later diagnosed with coronavirus.

    Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) president Harry Nespolon said the incident “underlines the fragility of the healthcare system”.

    “If we were to take 40 people out of every hospital, that’s a large amount of healthcare workers that won’t be available to take care of patients,” he said.

    “And there just isn’t another 40 people just sitting around there waiting to take their place.”

    But he said GPs were not getting enough support, including equipment such as masks and gowns, to deal with an expected rush of patients and help under-pressure hospitals

    It makes you wonder about the alleged “stimulus” the government says it will provide before the budget. Whatever it is it will be too little and too late. I suspect the CrimeMinister’s only “plan” is to delay and delay again in the hope his god will hear his prayers and take the virus away.

    • The Covid19 stimulus will be that “notional” $2 billion promised and not delivered to

      – drought affected farmers and small business
      – farmers & small business in bushfire areas
      – people who lost their homes in the bushfires
      – RFS volunteers
      – flooded Qlders

    • Will this alleged stimulus be another “notional stimulus”, existing only in the minds of Fraudenberg and the CrimeMinister?

      From what I’ve seen it’s only for businesses, to tide them over until money starts flowing again.

      The problem is no-one is spending. It’s been a problem for a few years now, but the government can’t or won’t see it that way. To them chucking money at business will fix everything. It won’t.

  5. Another snout back in the trough?

    Mike Baird has left the NAB. That follows some pretty strong rumours he is preparing for a run in Zali Steggall’s seat of Warringah.

    The Liberals have begun plans to take back Tony Abbott’s former seat. Less than a year after the election and the games have begun.

    To be clear, there is no confirmation that Baird is running – but the talk has been around since May, so just keep a close eye on that one

    After doing all he could to ruin NSW Baird now wants a crack at federal politics?

  6. “Only projects identified by the Australian Government will be considered for funding under the CDG Programme, including the Government Election Commitments since 2013 and other government initiated projects.

    The CDG Programme is a non-competitive grants program. If your project has been identified to receive grant funding you will be contacted by the Australian Government.”

    The guidelines for the Community Development Grants (CDG) program read as a confession – and they are – the program is a slush fund. It was set-up to institutionalise public funding for political and partisan electioneering outcomes.

    The last budget revealed a staggering $2.5 billion of funding slushed around in the CDG coffers since it began — funding nearly 1,000 projects. The largest grant being $35 million for a project based around Peter Dutton’s marginal electorate of Dickson. Approximately 70% of grants awarded went to Coalition-held seats.

    Most of the plunder – in fact a jaw-dropping $1.7 billion – has been deposited since the 2016 election.

    The rot appears to have set in when Scott Morrison, and his former chief of staff, Phil Gaetjens, took control of the Treasury portfolio in late 2015.

    This is a program where only the Government’s hand-picked projects are invited, approved and funded and, as such, is a nightmare for the usually responsible bean-counters in government.

  7. The deputy leader of the New South Wales Nationals was notified within minutes of an $8m grant being approved to an organisation run by her husband – and well before it was made public – despite telling parliament she had no involvement in the grant process.

    Bronwyn Taylor, who maintains she had no influence over the process, was asked a number of questions in an estimates committee on Thursday about the Country Universities Centres program, which received $16m funding from the state government.

    The program also received further funding from the federal government.

    Bronwyn Taylor’s husband, Duncan Taylor, was chairperson when the organisation applied for the grant and later became the CEO.

    Duncan Taylor is the brother of the federal energy minister, Angus Taylor. Louise Clegg, Angus Taylor’s wife, is on the board of the centre in Goulburn.

  8. Oh for every roof sake, is there anyone in the msm that will report this in full page headlines. I thought I was past the stage of anything this scumbag did that could outrage me, but this is just beyond belief.

  9. Every morning the list of stories Guardian Australia should cover is far longer than the list of reporters I have to assign to them. Many mornings the AAP wire service helps make up some of the difference.

    Holding politicians and powerful institutions to account requires sticking with things, sending a reporter to the months of trials and retrials of George Pell, for instance, or pursuing case after Kafkaesque robodebt case, or sitting through all the parliamentary committee hearings that help piece together the mounting evidence of the politicised grants process before the last election.

    That’s easier to do, or at least slightly less impossible, when we can rely on the safety net of our AAP subscription. If we can’t get to the disability royal commission on a particular day, or commit to cover a court case, we know AAP will be there. If we miss a press conference, AAP will have the quotes. Except after June they won’t. They’ll be gone.

  10. The competition watchdog says it is monitoring the planned closure of Australian Associated Press for “potential issues” as the Australian media industry scrambles to ready itself for life without the 85-year-old newswire.

    It is understood the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has the ability to look into the transaction because as well as closing the newswire business AAP plans to sell other parts of itself, including its profitable media release distribution unit.

    This could potentially raise competition issues that would not be posed by a simple shutdown.

  11. This happened yesterday, in Senate estimates, but it has barely had any attention –

    Click on the tweet to get the full video of the explanation.

    This is the organisation referred to.

    It seems utterly daft to close it down.

  12. How did this moron get into the Senate?

    Answer – he bought himself a winnable spot on the Queensland Senate paper by making a $30,000 donation to the LNP.

  13. I’ve been really depressed about the shortage of toilet paper today.

    Mainly because of its symbolism. Humans no longer are willing to work together in an emergency anymore. It’s the ultimate manifestation of “every man for himself” that the capitalist world has come to nurture and encourage.

    I’m not in any personal emergency in my position, I brought an 18 pack of toilet rolls last week and if the shortage isn’t solved by the time I run out, I’ll just take a shower instead, but, seeing pictures of people with bulging trolley loads of toilet paper and seeing for myself the empty shelves in every supermarket in my city, it’s just… horrifying about how little we collectively care about our communities anymore.

    • Yesterday I shopped and observed to one of the shelf-filling folk that they appeared to be all out of toilet paper. The chap rolled his eyes and said “we had a weeks’ supply there when we started this morning. All gone by 9am”. Just then the radio in the shop (playing one of our local radio stations) announced a ‘toilet roll princess’ who would award a toilet roll to the best call in the next five minutes.
      The shelf-filler chaps were seriously Not Impressed!

      I know I’m getting seriously cross with all these people who are getting so hysterical about things, though I am aware that it is probably brought on by ‘just one more frightening thing’ that they can’t do anything about. I’ve decided I’m going to blame Murdoch, Putin, Trump, Morrison and Johnson – the last three in no particular order, and see if the rumour takes off. *sly snarly waggle of eyebrows*

  14. Good morning Dawn Patrollers

    The government will spend billions of dollars in a bid to avoid Australia’s first recession in three decades, as it prepares to abandon its promised budget surplus say Jennifer Duke and Shane Wright.
    David Crowe reckons this will just be the start of it!
    The AFR says that wage subsidies to prevent small and medium businesses laying off workers are being actively considered as part of the government’s stimulus package.
    “Can Scott Morrison match Kevin Rudd in keeping Australia out of recession in a global crisis?”, ponders Michelle Grattan.
    Kate Aubusson reports that Epping Boys High School will be closed on Friday after a year 11 student tested positive for coronavirus. Two more separate cases were also confirmed late on Thursday, as health authorities warn the virus cannot be contained and is spreading in the community.
    In an eminently sensible contribution Professor Bill Botrell says that if we apply the lessons of the HIV response, we can buy time and protect public health until science can deliver the biomedical tools necessary to extinguish the threat posed by the coronavirus.
    Finger pointing about who is to blame only makes it harder for countries to share knowledge about controlling the epidemic says the SMH editorial which says the world must come together to fight the coronavirus.
    Tony Featherstone writes about how some unscrupulous employers might use the coronavirus crisis to cut costs, boost staff productivity and renegotiate terms with suppliers or take longer to pay them. Then keep those terms in place – or take too long to restore them – when the crisis passes.
    The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was blindsided by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s admission he did try to invite Hillsong pastor Brian Houston to the White House. However its top official has claimed the national interest and personal interests of the Prime Minister are “closely linked”, during a Senate estimates hearing yesterday.
    Bridget McKenzie has intervened in the political row over the $100 million sports grants funding affair to reject claims she backdated a key decision when the federal election was called last year. David Crowe writes that she is claiming ignorance of what changes were made by PM&C and/or her own department/advisors.
    The more we learn about the sports rorts controversy the more it becomes apparent how deeply embroiled in it the Prime Minister is writes Michelle Pini.,13660

    “Who do you trust?” Not you, FauxMo writes Kay Lee.
    More money for private schools won’t make Australia’s education fairer, no matter how you split it.
    A surge in asylum claims from Chinese nationals arriving on tourist visas following a government change to the visa system is further proof of the “dire” state of Australia’s migration system, Labor’s shadow home affairs minister, Kristina Keneally, says.
    This is the REAL reason we’re stockpiling toilet paper.
    Emma Koehn reports that the chief executive of Eftpos is calling for an overhaul of the regulation of price disclosures for processing tap-and-go card payments in Australia so that the country’s retailers have a genuine opportunity to compare their options.
    A world-first inquiry has recommended the sexual harassment equivalent of Fair Work’s anti-bullying regime and wants greater powers to investigate workplaces.
    Senior judges at the international criminal court have authorised an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, overturning an earlier rejection of the inquiry.
    Ben Butler reports that the ACCC says it is monitoring the planned closure of Australian Associated Press for “potential issues” as the Australian media industry scrambles to ready itself for life without the 85-year-old newswire.
    We relied on AAP when Guardian Australia launched. Holding power to account just got a whole lot harder says Lenore Taylor.
    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and fellow media giant Nine have been accused of closing news agency, Australian Associated Press, to damage their smaller competitors.
    The growing number of Newstart recipients who are sick or have disabilities face “unrealistic” mutual obligations to find work and sometimes have their impairments exacerbated while struggling on welfare payments, a new research paper says.
    And it’s goodbye from Elizabeth Warren.
    Matthew Knott tells us why Michael Bloomberg’s expensive failure is Joe Biden’s gain. Fairly $imple I’d say!
    According to The New York Times it’s easy to work out why Trump has played down economic damage from the coronavirus and dismissed Wall Street plunge – they threaten to undermine the most effective story he tells about his presidency.
    Netanyahu has had a bit of a dummy spit after failing to secure a majority.
    Have some fun doing this Name the Tory quiz.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    David Pope

    Jim Pavlidis

    Andrew Dyson

    Simon Letch

    Matt Golding

    Mark David

    A rather weak effort from Leak.

    From the US

  15. “It wasn’t me. Honest. I know nothing.”

    The former sports minister, Bridget McKenzie, has reignited the sports rorts controversy by insisting she made no changes to the brief and attachments outlining successful projects funded under the sports grants scheme after 4 April 2019.

    In a statement on her website, the first public intervention since stepping down from the ministry, McKenzie says: “I did not make any changes or annotations to this brief or its attachments after 4 April 2019”.

    “My expectation was that the brief would be processed in a timely and appropriate manner,” she says. “Nevertheless, changes were made and administrative errors occurred in processing the brief”.

    McKenzie does not identify who made the changes.

  16. This appeared yesterday in The Guardian. It’s an excellent piece on how the selfish “I’ll grab what I can and you can get stuffed” attitude of so many Australians is hurting the most vulnerable.

    No, you won’t get the coronavirus from Chinese food. And don’t drink bleach

    As a nation we should be ashamed of ourselves.

    Yeserday ScottyFromMarketing burbled this meaningless gibberish –

    So to all Australians, let’s get through this together. Let’s help each other. Let’s stay calm. Let’s go about our business. Let’s continue to enjoy the most wonderful country in the world in which to live, and that doesn’t change under these circumstances. And we’ve always worked well together. We’ve always understood what our responsibilities are. And we’ve always gone about our business with common sense. And that’s what we’re known for. So let’s do that, and I’m sure, I have no doubt, Australians will get through this like we get through everything else

    It was all blather, lies and spin, as usual. In a crisis we see Australians for the self-centred pigs they really are. All that talk about “mateship” is shoved aside in our rush to get hold of something before someone else manages to grab it. It happens every time. Even during the bushfires our “mates” were stealing from evacuated houses, rummaging through the ashes of destroyed homes to steal whatever they could and looting supermarkets.

    Australians tell themselves we are better than every other nationality because of our belief in our mythical “mateship”. We are no better, we are probably worse. Mateship is just a myth, just spin, advertising jargon.

  17. Jennifer Duke and Shane Wright on the coronavirus stimulus –

    The government’s stimulus package is expected to be launched on Wednesday. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said it would be “targeted”, “scalable” and “designed to keep Australian businesses in business and Australian workers in jobs”. It is expected to focus on small and medium businesses, self-funded retirees and the tourism sector

    Self-funded retirees?

    FFS! Why?

    I suppose the government sees it as compensation for falling interest rates, and a handy vote-winner in the style of Howard and his pandering to well-off retirees. Actually that compensation is not needed. If a retiree’s income drops below a certain level they become eligible for a part pension, the compensation (if that’s the plan) already exists. Most of them already have a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, another Howard idea, that allows retirees who meet the income limit to access all the health and transport perks genuine age pensions get. Any millionaire with a clever accountant can get their taxable income down to the necessary level.

    No increase in Newstart then, which would help retailing and get money into circulation as soon as the first increased payment hit bank accounts. No help for the most needy. Just more handouts to people who already have enough, people who will shove the money into their bank accounts and leave it there until it’s safe to take another overseas trip.

    Damn Coalition governments and their fixation on middle-class welfare and handouts for the well-off.

    • Sorry that sounded harsh. I’ll rephrase it. You know they wouldn’t do anything else, and if anyone did think they’d help the ones that could actually help the economy they’d be living on a different planet.

    • No, it’s what I expected. This government is all for the already well-off, everyone else can just go away and die in a ditch for all they care.

    • No intention of helping the needy. He can’t deal with real problems. The money will go elsewhere, again. Where it’s not needed. Isn’t it typical of this govt? And the media will keep on saying how good Morrison is. We need a very strong opposition. But when we finally hear its voice, it’s all soft and jokingly complaining about something major this govt fails to do.

  18. “We stuffed up big. Really big. But we won’t tell you anything about it.”

    The government has refused to tell a parliamentary hearing how many alleged welfare debts have been identified by a flawed and now abandoned calculation method that is likely to force the commonwealth to refund thousands of welfare recipients.

    At a fiery Senate estimates session on Thursday night, Department of Social Services and Services Australia officials cited legal advice in refusing to answer successive questions about the botched scheme, which is now the subject of a class action.

    Under questioning from the Greens senator Rachel Siewert, the secretary of the Department of Social Services, Kathryn Campbell, refused to say how many debts had been affected by the flawed “income averaging” method, found to be unlawful in the federal court in November.

  19. Former Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion approved more than $560m worth of funding in his last few weeks in the role, leading up to the election in 2019.

    A Senate committee has heard Scullion also gave almost $4m to 12 projects that his department, the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) did not recommend be funded.

    A number of the $560m in grants were “minister-initiated”, the committee has been told.

    Of the $1.279bn in the Indigenous affairs budget for this financial year, $567m was handed out by Scullion in the six weeks from 1 March to 11 April.

    Of the total Indigenous budget of $1.27bn, 90% had been committed by January 1 this year, NIAAA told the committee.

  20. The Vandals are well and truly within the gates.

    It is getting so bad that the international community is no longer laughing at us.

    The Morrison government has told researchers at two of Australia’s leading universities it will break a commitment to fund an international collaboration into what is required to shift to a zero emissions future.

    The Australian-German Energy Transition Hub was announced in 2017 by then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and German chancellor Angela Merkel as a collaboration that would “help the technical, economic and social transition to new energy systems and a low emissions economy”.

    Based at the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University and three German institutions, it was to receive $4m over five years from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of an eventual full cross-country funding of $20m.

    But in an email to staff on Friday afternoon, hub managers said the department had told them the government had decided it would “not follow through on its original commitment to fund the hub until 2022”.

    Government funding for the hub will end in June. Guardian Australia has been told there is $1.75m unpaid from the original agreement.

  21. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. This is Part 1. More to come after I feed all the animals.

    Jack Waterford reckons Scott Morrison needs new a roadmap and more humility.
    paddy Gourley devastatingly looks at our current government and concludes by saying, “Is it any wonder that confidence in government is at such a low ebb and that taxpayers seem less willing to fork out when the system has become too slippery with the public interest?”
    The levers of stimulus and interest rates have served Australia well for decades, but they won’t work in response to the coronavirus says Dr Andrew Charlton who was Rudd’s advisor during the GFC.
    Shane Wright and Eryk Bagshaw say the coronavirus outbreak could leave an extra 100,000 Australians out of work as the economy slows, with signs the nation’s retailers were already reeling before the disease spread globally.
    Ross Gittins dives into the economic figures to find the underlying state of the economy. And it’s not encouraging.
    Human studies of an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by US-cased company Moderna are set to begin this month.
    Shane Wright explains how the graphical shape of the recovery will be n the shape of a V rather than a U.
    The Age looks at six Melbourne workers to see how the coronavirus has affected them already.
    Jason Yat-sen Li writes that the face mask is a symbol of a fracturing world.
    Extending AGL’s ailing Liddell power station beyond the already delayed closure date of 2023 could pose a “major concern” for the health and safety of workers at the plant reports Peter Hannam.
    Richard Baker describes what came out of Estimates this week regarding the Home Affairs/Paladin relationship.
    The embattled St Kevin’s College has created two new senior roles to improve student welfare in the wake of the fallout over its handling of sexual grooming at the school.
    The nation’s housing market, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, is at risk of “renewed overheating”, the International Monetary Fund has warned, urging governments to overhaul property taxes including negative gearing. Well fancy that!
    On the latest retail figures announcement Shane Wight says that shopper are the canaries in the economic coal mine.
    The legality and effectiveness of Commonwealth grants programs has been challenged by constitutional and financial experts as the sports rorts affair continues to dog the federal government reports Adrian Rollins.
    Former sports minister Bridget McKenzie has made a new and potentially damaging claim in the sports grants affair, saying changes to a sports grants brief were made without her knowledge. It looks a bit like she’s throwing Morrison under the bus.
    Jess Irvine explains how the coronavirus pandemic has reignited the debate on ‘the good and the bad’ of globalisation.
    A US federal judge has sharply rebuked Attorney-General William Barr’s handling of the special counsel’s Russia report, saying Barr had made “misleading public statements” to spin the investigation’s findings in favour of President Donald Trump and had shown a “lack of candour.”
    The Canberra Times editorial describes Biden’s comeback as a blow to Trump.
    Tom Switzer writes that if Biden defeats first Sanders, then Trump in November’s election, he will join some prominent company. History will also judge this week as marking the turning point in his great political comeback.
    Elizabeth Farrelly writes disparagingly about NSW’s new building law.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    David Pope

    Alan Moir

    Mark David

    Sean Leahy

    Matt Golding

    John Shakespeare

    Dionne Gain

    Andrew Dyson

    Jim Pavlidis

    Joe Benke

    Johannes Leak

    From the US

  22. I’ve tried every trick in the book but for the life of me I can’t open any of the Canberra Times links. Anyone have any clue how to get the open?

    • The first two links are subscriber only, so no trick will open them unless you hand over money. I can’t afford to pay for news and opinion, so I can’t read them.

      For the others –

      Google the title in an incognito window – that always works for me.

      Better still, but annoying – delete all Canberra Times cookies – it will give you a few non-subscriber articles and then you will have to do it again.

      My local paper belongs to the same company – Australian Community Media – which took over all the old Fairfax regional papers., so I know how their system works.

  23. Dawn Patrol Part 2. It appears that The Saturday Paper has closed off the Outline route so you will have a new incognito window for each article and click on Keep Reading.

    Peter van Onselen writes that Morrison’s shaky integrity might fail the confidence test and tells us why.
    Rick Morton uses Morrison’s efforts on the Brian Houston White House dinner issue to line him up on his lack of integrity.
    And Paul Bongiorno chimes in writing, “It is getting harder by the week to believe a word uttered by the prime minister of Australia. And no one has done more to undermine Scott Morrison’s credibility than the man himself. This harsh judgement is shared not only by his political opponents in the Labor Party but also by all but one of the six crossbenchers in the house of representatives.”
    Australians are supposed to be laid-back during prosperity but manage crisis with grit and responsibility, rising to the occasion and putting lesser squabbles aside — yet the coronavirus outbreak will become a decisive test of how much our public culture has been damaged and poisoned says Paul Kelly.
    Laura Tingle thinks the coronavirus problem could be Morrison’s redemption. (Comparing him to Donald Trump, though, is not a high bar to jump!)
    Before the health crisis, the government had largely declined to act on Lowe’s pleas for greater fiscal support. But they are now on the same stimulus page according to the AFR.
    The coronavirus outbreak has had the unlikely side effect of sparking a price war between Australian and North American carriers on routes between the east coast and Los Angeles, Flight Centre says.
    Australian schools missed out on federal government funding earmarked for school sporting grants because Sport Australia used it for administration, technology, marketing and other associated programs writes Karen Middleton as she reveals Bridget McKenzie’s role in doing it.
    The federal government has promised to improve communication to the public and health workers around Covid-19, following doctors expressing their frustration with the level of information they were receiving from officials.
    The federal government has quietly cut the rate of interest it charges on reverse mortgages for retirees from 5.25 per cent to 4.5 per cent after being accused of gouging. But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is under pressure to do more for older Australians in his forthcoming stimulus package amid warnings they face the grimmest financial outlook in decades.
    A top effort from the ATO as it issues false, years-old tax debts worth thousands of dollars due to IT error.
    Phil Coorey says that Scott Morrison has declined to respond to a statement by former minister Bridget McKenzie that raises fresh questions about whether the Prime Minister’s office intervened in handing out “sports rorts” grants.
    Luke Henriques-Gomes writes that the government has refused to tell a parliamentary hearing how many alleged welfare debts have been identified by a flawed and now abandoned calculation method that is likely to force the commonwealth to refund thousands of welfare recipients. At a fiery Estimates hearing Deb O’Neill launched into the rather unlikeable Kathryn Campbell for seeking to avoid scrutiny.
    If we care about integrity in government, the Coalition must be held accountable for the grants saga writes a rather circumspect Katharine Murphy as she calls for a decent federal ICAC.
    Mike Seccombe writes that as Scott Morrison announces emergency COVID-19 measures and medical experts ‘war game’ worst-case scenarios, a looming recession may prove the greatest threat to Australia.
    Jonathan Freedland thinks coronavirus could turn Joe Biden’s defining weakness into a strength.
    News Corp finds someone to blame after pulling the plug on AAP (hint: it’s not News Corp) writes Amanda Meade.
    Raising the Newstart rate is one possible step towards preparing our economy for chaos brought on by factors such as COVID-19 writes Ross Jones.,13668
    The Guardian reports that Home Affairs tried to suppress the release of Serco’s immigration detention centre operating manual by arguing it would allow immigration detainees to make human rights complaints as a “means of intimidating Serco personnel”.
    Michael West’s Callum Foote strongly makes the case for a decent federal ICAC with a chronicle of events worthy of referral to such a body.
    The New Daily tells us that as coronavirus continues to spread globally, the form of the Morrison Government’s economic stimulus package is beginning to take shape. It will not include Rudd-style cash payments for everyone, so don’t expect to receive a $900 cheque in the mail. But economists believe some individuals, particularly pensioners and the unemployed, should receive direct payments of some kind.
    The social services minister, Anne Ruston, admitted during a Senate committee hearing there was a with the cashless debit card which still allows people to buy alcohol.
    John Elder outlines some good advice on the differences between the usual flu and Covid-19.
    The Australian Government needs to listen to the experts and become a world leader in climate change policy, writes Dr Victor Luca.,13664
    The Saturday Paper tells us that in the wake of revelations that doctors in Wagga Wagga are refusing to perform abortions, the New South Wales government faces pressure to investigate access to reproductive healthcare across the state.

    Cartoon Corner Part 2

    From a new (to me) cartoonist Paul Dorin

    John Kudelka

  24. Leone

    Thank you. After having to got into the guts of the computer to find the cookies, (why do they keep fiddling with the basics) I can’t for the life of me find out which cookies belong to the Canberra Times. Can I pick your brain again to see if you can help?

    • I use Chrome. It might be different for other browsers.

      I get to “See all cookies and site data” then put “canberratimes” into “search cookies”. I get two results – “” and “”. I just hit “remove all shown”.

      Or you can go down the whole alphabetical list to find them.

  25. Will the CrimeMinister slap travel ban on the US?

    Not if it means upsetting Trump. Better to contribute to the spread of the virus than risk offending his idol.

    Everyone in government should sit down and watch “Contagion”. It gives a very clear portrayal of the way a virus, oddly enough coming from China, starting in animals and transmitted to humans, can spread worldwide. It was made in 2011, and seems weirdly prophetic now.

    • Click on the three horizontal bars top right.

      Click on Options.

      Click on Privacy & Security.

      Under Cookies and Site Data click on Manage Data…

      Now you will see which cookies are installed.

  26. This is an excellent article by Dr John Falzon,who among other things is a member of the Australian Services Union.

    Solidarity in the face of a neoliberal inferno

    But the Morrison government, with its so called Ensuring Integrity bill, makes an art-form out of despising working people. In a feat of doublespeak that would make Orwell’s Big Brother regime envious, this government claims it needs to rein in unions precisely because it is on the side of workers and unions are not. It hates unions because it despises workers and unions improve the wages and conditions of workers.

    The word despise is not an exaggeration. It comes from the Latin de specere, ‘to look down on’. This government looks down on workers. This is why it wants workers to see each other as the enemy instead of recognising and fighting against an agenda that seeks to divide them because it despises them

  27. tlbd

    Thanks. Canberra Times cookies won’t even show so I can’t delete them. Like Leone, I don’t think there is any way to open BK’s first two links, which look to be very interesting stuff to read, but I’ll live without those articles. I sure as heck can’t afford to pay to subscribe, especially as I only read links BK’s and others here put up, oh and sometimes links from twitter. Not many come from CT.

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