You are here

Miscellaneous comments from 24 July 2014

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 12 June 2014 can be found here.

Update, 14 Sep 14: Comments are now closed on this page. Please add further comments here.

If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed in other articles, please add your comments here.

Comments

Send a clear message to the environment minister to step in and save Ballina's koalas from extinction!

A couple of months ago about the plan to upgrade the Pacific Highway in NSW, part of which will destroy a critical koala colony in Ballina.

40,000 people petitioned for the highway to be koala-friendly. However, despite this public outcry, and the numbers who objected, it's "business as usual". The NSW government has made the decision to steamroll ahead with the contentious Stage 10 upgrade.

Even our iconic native species are incrementally being removed from their strongholds, by lack of protection in their own country.

Shocking new analysis broadcast on ABC on Friday night revealed that the current proposed Stage 10 development will result in the local koala population becoming extinct within the next 20 to 25 years.

Tell the government to save our koalas.

Send an urgent message to Mr Greg Hunt, the Environment Minister , and the newly appointed Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews.

Tell them to act now to prevent this catastrophic local extinction. The fate of this nationally significant koala population rests with these two men.

Please act now. This really is the last chance to save Ballina's koalas. Make sure your voice is heard.

Protect Ballina's Koalas from Extincion

Sign the petition to end deadly prescribed burns in Victoria and the carnage to native animals

Date: July 24, 2014
Source: University of California - Berkeley
[snip]

Global decline of wildlife populations is driving increases in violent conflicts, organized crime and child labor around the world, according to a policy paper led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. The authors call for biologists to join forces with experts such as economists, political scientists, criminologists, public health officials and international development specialists to collectively tackle a complex challenge.

The paper, to be published Thursday, July 24, in the journal Science, highlights how losses of food and employment from wildlife decline cause increases in human trafficking and other crime, as well as foster political instability.

"This paper is about recognizing wildlife decline as a source of social conflict rather than a symptom," said lead author Justin Brashares, associate professor of ecology and conservation at UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. [[[Aren't both "wildlife decline" and "social conflict" symptoms of population overshoot?]]] "Billions of people rely directly and indirectly on wild sources of meat for income and sustenance, and this resource is declining. It's not surprising that the loss of this critical piece of human livelihoods has huge social consequences. Yet, both conservation and political science have generally overlooked these fundamental connections."

The symbolic 100 millionth Filipino alive has been born, but the government reiterates its commitment to fight poverty.
Baby Chonalyn was born at the Dr. Jose Fabella Hospital in Manila at 12:35 am, officially pushing the population of the country to the historic milestone that highlights the challenge of providing for more people in the already-impoverished nation.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, "Even if the Philippine population is growing, what's important is that we must be able to tailor fit our programs to help the fifth quintile of the population to be able to get out of that demographic." It's going to be hard to lift the nation out of poverty while populations boom! Already about 25% of the people are living in poverty. It's about riding a wave of contradictions.

Efforts to control the Philippines’ population growth have long been hampered by the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, which counts about 80 percent of Filipinos as followers and which disapproves of all forms of artificial birth control.

The population of the Philippines has been steadily growing for many years. In 2014, it is the 12th most populated country in the world, between Mexico and Ethiopia, and continues to grow at a rate of 1.89% per year. Today around 80% of the country’s citizens are Roman Catholic Christians. Of the remaining people, 10% are from other Christian denominations and around 5% are Muslim, mainly based in the South West in the country.

Advocates of the new health and reproductive law say it will help slow the country's population growth of more than 2% annually by providing people more access to contraceptives. However, opponents say the law violates the Philippine Constitution by promoting contraceptives, imposing population control and violating religious beliefs. A survey that showed 84% of Filipinos agreed that "the government should provide free supply or service to the poor who wish to use any family planning method," such as condoms and contraceptive pills. It also found that 68% of respondents were aware of the law and 72% favored it.

Access to contraceptives should be available to all those who need it, and it should not "violate religious beliefs" - the welfare of the nation as a whole is more important than the parts!

In recent years Melbourne City Council's regular survey of rough sleepers has found a relatively stable homeless population of about 100 people. But the most recent survey has revealed an unexpected 40 per cent increase since the last count in 2012.

The Age: Record numbers living on Melbourne's streets

Volunteers also noticed a large number of people sleeping outside the traditional count area, including in public toilets in Docklands and Royal Park, meaning the actual figure is likely to be much higher.

There are few journalists willing to join the dots between the housing boom propped up by high immigration, and increasing homelessness. One of the first actions of the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was to address homelessness, but contradictorily he increased immigration to new record levels as house prices started to fall after the GFC! He also doubled and tripled the First Home Owners Grant, to encourage spending and mortgage growth. Now, we have foreign investors also predators on our housing market.

With up to 2000 new arrivals each week, and about 200 each day, Victoria's population growth is unsustainable and forcing young people out into the streets, and out of jobs. We are in population overshoot! Public housing is insufficient to meet demand, and the waiting list is decades long.

Our economy has narrowed down to be beneficial to a select elite,while the rest are becoming more in debt, and locked out. It's a predatory housing market, and one that's boomed for the banks, real estate companies and property developers.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has caved to the mining industry and approved Indian mining giant Adani's monstrous Carmichael Mine, threatnening the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Hunt has given the green light to the $16.5 billion Carmichael Coal and Rail Project in Queensland's Galilee Basin, tying it to 36 "strict" conditions focused on conserving groundwater.

The coal mine will be the biggest in Australia. It will pollute our climate with massive CO2 emissions for decades. It will mean massive and continual dredging and dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and will fill the Reef with thousands of coal ships every year.

Minister Greg Hunt had the simple task of rejecting absurd proposals for the biggest coal mine ever proposed for Australia — the Carmichael mine — which requires a new coal export terminal and destructive dredging and dumping in our beloved Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. But for whatever reason, Mr Hunt couldn't do it. The reason for not enacting the role of "Environment Minister" is not so obscure - it's filthy lucre!

Carmichael mine will cover an area seven times that of Sydney Harbour. The only way to get coal out of Carmichael mine is via the Great Barrier Reef. Millions of tonnes of seabed will have to be dredged and dumped in the World Heritage Area to make way for port expansions to service this mega-mine.

Five million tonnes of seabed will be dug up and dumped within the Marine Park in order to expand Abbot Point.

Green groups estimate an extra 450 ships a year will have to travel through the Great Barrier Reef to get the coal.

We've had some very discouraging, to abysmal "Environment Ministers" in Australia, bending backwards to corporate power and giving "green" ticks to their mining and logging, but Mr Greg Hunt must take place of pride to holding the position of the biggest Oxymoron of all times - as "Environment" Minster when his interests are clearly elsewhere!

A man 79, is accused of killing 51-year-old NSW Environment Department compliance and regulation officer Glen Turner at Croppa Creek, 55 kilometres north of Moree in northern New South Wales. The land was being inspected for illegal clearing and environmental assessment. There had been a long running dispute with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and the 79 year old had a criminal history.

Such is the value and pressure on land that we are becoming like third world nations, where the death toll for environmental activists is horrendous. The anti-environmental movement is more cashed-up and powerful than the altruistic environmentalist protecting the integrity of Nature, because of it's natural values and non-human benefits.

According to a report released by the London-based NGO Global Witness, at least 908 environmental activists have been killed over the last decade. That number is comparable to the 913 journalists killed in the course of their work in the same period and is likely on the low side—reporting is inconsistent in many countries, and full data for 2013 hasn’t yet been collected. 2012 was deadliest year ever for environmentalists, with 147 killed.

Not only do activists and rangers get threatened and murdered, but corruption allows "environment" ministers to cave into the enemies – and their economic powers can't be resisted! There is a money trail to the Government from big banks, and mining and infrastructure corporations that increasingly have more clout than the public, or grass-roots opinions. Investments and money have swayed decision-making and moulded so-called independent political decisions to suit the big money spinners at the cost of integrity and long term interests in the environment – even the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef! Greed is the "god" of today, and as natural resources become more expensive and lucrative to own it means more destructive and invasive techniques to obtain energy and power.

See also: Man, 79, charged with murdering environment officer after alleged shooting at Moree, NSW (30/7/14) ABC News, Moree shooting: Croppa Creek unites for Glen Turner's family (30/7/14) The Northern Daily LEADER, Government environmental worker shot dead after serving notice to man illegally clearing vegetation at Croppa Creek (30/7/14) Daily Telegraph, Tragic end to disputes over illegal land clearing (30/7/14) Glen Innes Examiner, Land clearing linked to NSW farm killing (30/7/14) Yahoo News.

Almost 700 people in West Africa have died in the worst Ebola outbreak on record. There is currently no vaccine, and due to its fast onset and horrific symptoms it has become one of the world's most feared diseases. Ebola virus takes advantage of the climate of peace and globalization effect in West Africa: the best transport and no wars (compared to the former Zaire) explain the case of Liberian died at age 42 soon after arrival at the airport in Lagos, the Nigerian metropolis of 20 million inhabitants.
Ebola is a zoonotic disease. The bushmeat trade (the catching and eating of wild animals, including primates such as gorillas and chimpanzees), is thought to play a role in outbreaks of the disease. Ssevere EVD outbreaks in macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) farmed in Philippines and was detected in monkeys imported into the USA in 1989, 1990 and 1996, and in monkeys imported to Italy from Philippines in 1992. Mis-use and abuse of animals has bad karma! It would be ironic that animals used for laboratories become the reason for the distribution of one of the world's most untreatable and infectious diseases! Pig farms in Africa can play a role in the amplification of infection because of the presence of fruit bats on these farms.
The World Health Organisation has specifically noted traditional healing and burial practices in rural regions as a factor in the spread of the disease.
Since March, there have been 1201 cases of Ebola and 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The largest Ebola outbreak on record, which took place in Uganda between September 2000 and February 2001. Four hundred and twenty five people developed clinical symptoms in three geographically distinct parts of the country (Gulu, Masindi, and Mbarara), of whom 224 (53%) died.
One person in Britain has been tested for ebola, the Department of Health (DoH) ministry confirmed, but the tests proved negative. Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.
Nigerian health authorities are racing to stop the spread of the flesh-eating Ebola virus after a man sick with one of the world’s deadliest diseases carried it by plane to Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people.
Your immune system, completely out of control, attacks every organ in your body. Tiny blood vessels burst everywhere and you begin slowly to bleed to death.
In the globalised world with huge amounts of merchandise and millions of people transported by air from one part of the planet to another, the ‘traffic’ of microbes and the diseases they cause are facilitated to such an extent that infectious agents, previously confined to limited ecological niches, are now capable of spreading rapidly to every corner of the earth.

Subject was: Imperialism.

Australia First Party

Mr Ya Zhang Zhong 13th July 2014
Executive Official
Shanghai Municipal People’s Government OPEN LETTER
200 People Avenue Post
SHANGHAI CHINA Zip: 200003

Dear Sir,
RE: CHINESE THEME PARK PROPOSAL - WARNERVALE, AUSTRALIA

I write on behalf of members and concerned citizens, in relation to reports of your intentions of economic exploitation and political propaganda in Warnervale via a Chinese Cultural theme Park.

The concern is that the any such undertaking by foreign sources is imperialistic, undermines our integrity and independence, and is not in the interests of our Australian People.

In addition, the cultural decline from such an alien concept dumped into our Australian society, together with likely resulting deterioration to the critical eco-systems of this near pristine region, is not acceptable, We consider this a very serious matter.

It has also been reported that Messrs Doug Eaton and Robert Stokes MP, members of the political caste in Australia has been acting to facilitate this exploitation, but be under no illusion that this has any sanction of the Australian People.

Your Shanghai Government enterprise may have been further misled by other elements of our political caste that foreigners’ exploitation in our economy is welcome, however this stance emanates from Quislings, the likes of whom our Australian Peoples Movement will ensure accountability for such actions.

Your attention is drawn to understanding that imperialism in the economy of Australia in dispossessing Australians of the ownership and benefit of our own resources, is an intolerable compromise of the Commonwealth of our People.

It may also be that the Shanghai Government has been influenced by the current large scale transfer of your fellow country men into Australia, a virtual re-colonisation process that has never been sanctioned by the Australian People as it undermines and degrades our European derived civilisation. This is a matter that can now only be addressed by either their voluntary departure, or directed repatriation back to your own country.

I therefore caution against ignoring this situation in continuing with this imperialistic intent, and bring to your notice that our Australian Peoples Movement, under the full authority of our People, will enforce without redress or compensation, the eradication of such projects, as a necessity for our national self respect and independence

I therefore urge your enterprise to add to the process of mutual respect between the Australian and Chinese People by refraining from such imperialistic activity as has been reported.

To this end, I request a public announcement from you rescinding from this exploitation, which will effectively close this very important matter.

Your immediate attention will be appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Bob Beavers
State Convenor

NSW Branch P. O. Box 593 Rockdale 2216
www.australiafirstparty.net ausfirst [ AT ] hotmail.com National Contact Line - 02 8587 0014
Australia First Party - Reclaiming Australia for Australians

No wonder Japan is not taking our win at the International Court of Justice seriously! Tony Abbott didn't even mention the issue of their illegal whaling during the recent talks about free trade agreements with Japan!
So much hypocrisy comes from Australia, and kangaroos are meant to be "protected" native species - just like the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
A small group of activists gathered outside the Legislative Assembly on Friday afternoon, leaving flowers and a gravestone for the animals, killed as part of controversial efforts to protect native grasslands and woodland sites which the government says are threatened by overgrazing from eastern grey kangaroos.

Canberra Times: More than 1500 kangaroos shot during ACT government cull

It assumes that native grasslands and woodlands are threatened by native kangaroos! It's totally ignorant and based on unfounded fears of over population of these native grazers that actually benefit the environment. It's like killing whales or other top ocean predators to protect the prey - when they actually co-exist naturally and part of the food chain!

There will be an attempt to "move" bushland out of the Bush Capital to create opportunities for property developers! In an attempt to balance urban expansion with the ongoing loss of threatened species in the Bush Capital, the ACT government proposes that impacts from development on threatened species in the ACT must be offset by restoring equivalent biodiversity elsewhere, including in NSW.

SMH: The Bush Capital threatens biodiversity

The translocation of kangaroos was considered too risky, so they were shot! Now, it's assumed that biodiversity will automatically be moved along with these "off sets". How can threatened species be protected and also simply moved?

Biodiversity offsets have attracted criticism from scientists and public interest groups around the world as a “licence to trash” biodiversity. It's simply land-clearing and declaring another existing piece of land it's replacement! It's tokenism and pure deadly economics that puts housing growth ahead of the environment. How do you "off set" a 300 year old native tree, or grasslands that have been endemic to Australia for thousands of years? Native animals and plants have taken millions of years to co-exist and be co-dependant, and it's expected magically that they will just shove-off for urban expansion.

Australia's rapid human population growth should be stemmed, not that of low-impact native kangaroos!

It is totally unfair on these innocent creatures. Makes me sick.

PLEASE LEAVE OUR AUSSIE KANGAROOS alone , hate to see where yous end up on the other side. God will deal with that I'm sure because these are his animals and he didn't put them on earth to die like this. Kim.

Prolonged dry spells and less water is threatening Vanuatu's food security. When rain does comes it's more intense and destroys the island's staple food - cabbage crops. Food security is a vita issue in Vanuatu. It's something that has implications for the rest of the world too. Market gardens and coconut plantations are being destroyed by storms, the cash crops that supported many people.
The Gillard government gave $2 million as aid to finance climate change adaptation, as part of a UN plan. Not for profit organisations have been encouraging the residents to grow alternative crops such as capsicans, beans and tomatoes that are more resilient than the cabbages. However, the Abbott government cut the funds and they have run out!
Some graves have had to be removed and the dead reburied due to coastal erosion destroying the cemeteries. Our present government's denial of climate change means that it's "business as usual" and the planet's changing weather patterns will create "climate refugees" in the future. The Pacific region.
The Age: Vanuatu Climate worries rise as aid cut off
Totally inconsistent to their worries, Vanuatu has the highest annual population growth rate of 2.3 per cent in the Pacific, followed closely by Kiribati 2.1%. It's hardly cogent that the people are struggling with climate change, and relying on foreign aid, yet at the same time are procreating with abandon!
Vanuatu has the fourth highest total fertility rate at 4.1 (average of 4.1 children out of 10 per woman in Vanuatu. Populations of many Melanesian countries in the southwest Pacific Islands region are expected to double in a generation. There are many teenage pregnancies and there's a tradition of having large families. If a woman decides to use contraceptives, there's a fight in the family!
We have a micro-example of climate change happening on a small island, mirroring humanity's inconsistency and lack of intellectual capacity of allowing "culture" and "tradition" to over-ride the evidence at hand of a growing food security threat. It's assumed that the help will be "out there" from some foreign source, and that there will be a new land of opportunities to start afresh, in some colony where there's a "better life" in Cornucopia - but it's a dangerous myth!

Hon Kelvin Thomson questioned in Parliament, Mr Greg Hunt, our Minister for Environment. The former questioned the policy of open-ended population growth on our infrastructure costs, and natural and built environments. (Hansard, 13th May, 2014)
He said that setting a fixed population growth masked the "complexities of the issues".
There are many aspects of our population growth that cannot be changed, such as our fertility levels!
Considering that 60% of our population growth is due to net overseas migration, and fertility levels continue to be below long term replacement levels, there is a LOT of population growth that can be changed!
Mr Hunt said that "Australia has jobs, infrastructure and services to provide for our population growth". This ignores the $770 billion infrastructure deficit we already have, record levels of youth unemployment, the lack of jobs, and the "heavy lifting" we must endure of the cuts to health and education, and welfare! Reality flies on the face of Mr Hunt's contradictory spin!
There's plenty in the Ivory towers of Canberra, and our politicians need regular reality checks. The cornucopia myth is alluring, but it's only a myth!
There is a plan to develop Northern Australia, with infrastructure, mining and shale gas projects.
mines, gas fields, dams? Powerful voices in government and big business are promoting a future of massive new dams, huge shale gas fields, fracking, extensive land clearing, more giant mines, ports and industrial developments in Northern Australia– fast tracked by weakening environment laws.

Read more on the Australian Wildlife Protection Council website.

ACF: The beautiful North - make a submission to the Northern Australia white paper
With bipartisan support for big population growth, and weakening environment laws, Australia will be consumed by big businesses with nothing but profits in their sights. Already Australia's native species extinction record is the fastest of the modern world, and we will become famous for dead landscapes, wildlife, holes in the ground, pollution, poverty and over-population!

“For those who've come across the seas, We've boundless plains to share; With courage let us all combine, To Advance Australia Fair”. According to our "environment" minister, Australia still has no limits to economic and population growth. In a parallel world, Australia has rich plains of arable land, excellent and regular supplies of fresh water that never runs out, or never deluges, and the benefits of Nature are never extinguished . Mr Abbott describes northern Australia as not our last frontier but our next frontier; he sees it as being afflicted by ''ongoing development deadlock'' because of the lack of infrastructure and supportive investment.

The operation of our present industrial civilization is wholly dependent on access to a very large amount of energy of various types. If the availability of this energy were to decline significantly it could have serious repercussions for civilization and the human population it supports. A model, known as the "World Energy and Population" model, or WEAP, suggests that the world's population will decline significantly over the course of the century. The Government wants to develop a food bowl, which could double Australia’s agricultural output, and build a $150 billion energy export industry with a strong focus on clean and efficient energy in the North.

A substantial increase in food production will require major improvements in the efficiency of existing systems, plus the expansion of farming into new areas. That will mean spending an estimated A$600 billion to upgrade and add to the ageing network that currently supports Australian farming. Over the past 50 years southern Australia has lost about 20 per cent of its rainfall, and one cause is almost certainly global warming. Similar losses have been experienced in eastern Australia, and although the science is less certain it is probable that global warming is behind these losses too. But by far the most dangerous trend is the decline in the flow of Australian rivers: it has fallen by around 70 per cent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain. The CSIRO has demonstrated that the water for large-scale, intensive agriculture does not exist in the North. The water that is present in the North plays a crucial role in the region’s ecosystems, and the impact of removing or redirecting it will be significant.

It seems that money for "infrastructure" is the only constraint to the megalomaniac plan for the last frontier of Northern Australia to be expanded! The solution obviously is to lease or sell the whole north of Australia, and allow foreign interests to create the new "food bowl of Asia"!

Strange that people like the environment minister and the prime minister don't see our "undeveloped", unspoiled areas as part of their/our own garden, to be treasured and preserved; accessible to them to enjoy.

Not since the drought of 1901 has the slab of land – stretching from Bundaberg to Coffs Harbour in northern NSW and west to St George – recorded so little rain.

The Australian: Southern Queensland and Northern NSW's worst drought in 113 years

It comes as the state’s wheat crop became the first crop casualty of the drought, with half of the $300 million growth simply not planted because of the dry conditions. Dairy and cattle farmers have also been crippled. Cotton production in Australia is set to plummet as much as 50 per cent next season because of the persisting drought, growers and shippers predict. A large swathe of eastern Australia, including coastal regions from Coffs Harbour to Bundaberg, is in the midst of its driest year since the Federation Drought more than a century ago, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

It has been more than a year since farmers in the Kyogle and Casino districts recorded decent rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology is on watch for an El Nino event this spring. It could bring drier conditions to areas already experiencing a lack of rainfall.

And while many farmers have welcomed recent announcements of state and federal assistance, many say -- it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the relief that only rain can bring.

Australian Researchers have found that extreme versions of the cyclical weather pattern El Niño — dubbed 'super El Niños' — will double in frequency under projected global warming scenarios, with repercussions for many countries across the globe. Crop losses as a result of the 1983 super El Niño were worth US$12 billion in the USA alone.

The megalomaniac plans for "big Australia" and the "food bowl" of Asia should be trimmed back in line with reality.

The humpback dolphin, which dwells in the waters of northern Australia and New Guinea, joins a group of close relatives in the genus Sousa: the Atlantic humpback dolphin (S. teuszii), the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (S. chinensis), and the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (S. plumbea).

Australian Geographic

Identifying it has not been easy as it has many similarities with it's close relatives. The Australian humpback dolphin has a low dorsal fin with no hump, and a distinct skull shape and number of teeth; it also bears a darker 'cape' on its back, compared to its closest relative, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin.

Australia is famous for mammal extinctions, and for mega-diversity threatened by climate change and expanding human activities, so it's rare to be honoured by a "new" species of dolphins - all of our own!

Australia's Great Barrier Reef remains under threat despite efforts to rein in major sources of damage to the World Heritage-listed icon, the government said on Tuesday. A tourism operator from the Great Barrier Reef has come halfway around the world in a last-ditch attempt to save his business. They're hoping to convince European banks not to fund a coal terminal expansion on his doorstep.

Green groups and marine tourist operators are aiming to stop a planned coal port expansion that would require millions of cubic metres of sand to be dredged up and dumped near the reef. Our "environment" minister, despite his title, gave permit for the GBR dredging! It's the home to threatened species, including the dugong and large green turtle, the World Heritage list says. Our natural wealth, even our world "heritage" listed assets, are all considered collateral damage, unavoidable, in the pursuit of endless economic growth, and corporate profits.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation is concerned o
ver the proposed coastal developments, and has asked Australia to submit an updated report on the state of conservation of the reef.

CBA's team of media, investor and government relations advisers have spent recent weeks and days polishing messages and preparing Mr Narev and chief financial officer David Craig for the inevitably tricky questions on how they plan to defuse the fallout from their investment financial planning "advice" scandal. Another record result of $8.63 billion posted today will not be enough to deflect the glare. Analysts expected the bank to report a cash profit of around $8.7 billion, an increase of around 11% over last year’s results.
CBA, the nation’s largest home loan provider, has dismissed suggestions of a housing bubble, claiming recent investor interest in housing was “a rational response to the low interest rate environment created by the central banks”. Of course, they are a powerful lobby groups inflating the housing bubble, with swelling coffers from the housing market. Borrowers have taken advantage of the low interest rates to pay down their debts which has resulted in record low bad debt charges.

Australian dwelling prices have jumped more than 10 per cent over the year to March 2014. In Sydney and Melbourne, which make up 55 per cent of the metropolitan population, home values leapt by 15 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. Yet disposable incomes per capita only rose by 1.7 per cent over 2013.

A growing population means demand is still kept high. First home buyers are virtually out of the market, so foreign investors are needed to keep the housing bubble inflated. It means draining the salaries from workers and filling the banks with easy profits. At the heart of the problem are Australia’s unique mix of tax concessions, such as negative gearing, a constipated supply system, and major banks that use internal risk models that make mortgage lending their most profitable business, but at a cost of chocked up productivity.

Productivity growth is the key to national prosperity, never more so than in Australia right now as we struggle with failing competitiveness after the mining boom. Housing is not an export industry, and merely props up the lending institutions without contributing to our growing infrastructure debt, welfare and productivity.

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) are sweeping across Iraq with frightening speed. More than 150 Australians and dual-national Australians flew to Syria to take part in the vicious civil war, and an unknown number joined the terrorist group that has been seen as the most brutal of all anti-government militias.
Former Sydney residents Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar have joined the ISIS movement in the Middle East, and they are using the megaphone of social media to spread jihadist statements and take on their detractors. Convicted terrorist Sharrouf was born in Australia and lived in Sydney’s west until he fled the country on his brother Mustafa’s passport in December. Around 14 Australians have died in the region including suicide bombers.
The Prime Minister has signed off on a $32.7 million multi-agency group to focus on the investigation, prosecution and disruption of foreign fighters and their supporters. There are also concerns about radical groups in Brisbane and Perth that may be involved in the recruitment and funding of jihadist tourism.
For years now One Nation has implored the Australian government to address the invasion of extremist Islam, via the so-called “refugee pipeline” that has been successful in smuggling thousands of muslims into our country. Foreign minister Ms Bishop said she had cancelled numerous Australian passports belonging to suspected extremists and Australian intelligence agencies were working with regional partners to counter the threat posed by the fighters’ return.
The involvement of Australia in terror overseas has occurred despite Australian government counter-measures that include criminal charges, passport confiscations, bank account restrictions and coercive questioning, as well as public messaging (PDF) and community engagement initiatives. Nobody has questioned our liberal immigration policies, and blindness to certain religious/social and political groups growing in Australia. As Andrew Bolt says, "many Australians would be asking, is it smart, in these circumstances, to take so many immigrants from Muslim countries? Why expose us to this danger?....You can't screen the children of immigrants coming in, and it's the second generation that seems to be particularly more militant than their parents who come here. That's why I think, you know, perhaps the issue of immigration for Muslim countries should be considered as a potential problem".
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's bland answer was: " this country, as an immigration country, is that, those who come to Australia to work, not to go on welfare, to make a contribution, go right across the spectrum. That's why we focus our immigration programme on people who have skills. We keep our immigration programme at more than two-thirds skills based and we're very tough when it looks at the other parts of the programme, to ensure that those matters have integrity. But when you focus on skills, then social cohesion follows, because people come for the right reasons, and that's we want. People coming here for the right reasons, and that's what our programme is focused on". (What skills do we need with record unemployment, limited scope for training, apprenticeships and tertiary education?)
Morrison continues with:" Now, that's important, in terms of the broader settlement process for refugees, or for immigrants more broadly, it's about making sure people can speak English and get a job, and not go on welfare. That's the best way to make sure that people integrate, is make sure they're involved in the economy, involved in the society, and not idle or able to be in a position where they can be compromised by people who intend to do us harm". Get a job when they are almost non-existent and actually "integrate"? Surely that's at odds with our Multicultural policy?
Australia naively holds the position that we must have porous borders, and that any "discrimination" would be negative, and it's better to ignore it with political spin - and just deal with it in hindsight when threats and criminal actions occur, not take the obvious initiative and shut our borders of filter out any threats!
All politicians should be force to emerge from their isolated comfort zones at least once a week, and talk to the public! They are living in their bubbles, insulated from reality.

http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/sm/2014/sm215656.htm

Why settle syrian & iraqis here in Australia. This is their war not ours and the Abbott government has no concern about our say, they are putting our country and people at risk, and our unemployment with our own people is bad enough and let's not forget our poor living on the streets. I'm sure a nice comfortable bed and food at the immigration will be much appreciated by our homeless people, oh and lets not forget all our resources will be saved for our future generations, and our innocent animals will not become extinct. REDUCE IMMIGRATION.

National Press Club: Dick Smith and Graham Turner

High profile businessman and philanthropist Dick Smith and Flight Centre founder Graham Turner spoke at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, warning Australia’s annual population growth of 400,000 people was unsustainable. Dick Smith and Graham Turner, of Flight Deck, are both keen environmentalists, and patriotic millionaires.
He was a "free-range" kid from the north shore of Sydney, living in a home with a sizeable back yard. His father was a salesman, and his mother was a stay at home mum! Now, with Sydney's population set to soar to 8 million, and Melbourne's too, kids are expected to live in 80 storey apartments and quality of life is falling.

Dick Smith made a film, and a book, but he was surprised that he got little interest from journalists. He's a great supporter of politician, Kelvin Thomson, who "gets away with speaking" on population because the press ignore him, and most people agree with him! The economic system we've had since the second world war is one that that requires compound population growth and endless resources of energy. It's clearly not sustainable as it's a finite world. We've come to the end of easy growth, to now what he calls extreme capitalism. Managers at Coles and Woolworths now say they don't enjoy their jobs any more because you have to be so ruthless because shareholders insist on never ending profit increases. He read Prince Charles' book "Harmony" saying you have to live in balance but he gets virtually no coverage in the media.

He produced a book of "Forbidden Ideas" that journalist won't cover - free range kids, limits to growth, and extreme capitalism - is it good? He got thousands and thousands of emails and letters of support, for his common sense. Strangely the biggest growth-pushers was the ABC, and it's not from profit pressures! When he launched is Wilberforce Award, he had $1 million in cash and 5 "blond bomb-shells", like Richard Branston always does, but it made no difference. ABC journalists asked 3 questions of racism- and he said this is a world problem with nothing to do with race,creed or skin. The issue wasn't linked to racism, so nothing appeared in the press. Q&A ran nothing on population, but they had the head of the international monetary fund on the show. There were twitter feeds on growth, but the discussion didn't touch the subject. The lady spruiked growth as if it could be endless, and no more twitters!

Smith says that we need a capitalistic plan, but with a different form of growth. Growth in quality and efficiency, but not in population and endless resources of energy. Similar to Japan, their lifestyles are improving and they don't have to spend in high rise buildings and infrastructure.

Our grandchildren can have a great future if we live in balance, and harmony, with resources. Our system must become sustainable.
Graham Turner grew up on an apple orchard, and often went into the bush. He used to shoot rabbits, and understood early the potential for the environment. Ralph Nader wrote on Zero Population Growth in the 1970s, and predicted world food shortages. Most of what he said will be applicable in the near future. Sir David Attenborough is in his 80s and his views are very well known. In Australia 90% of native temperate vegetation has gone, and 50% of Australia's rainforests have gone.

Turner worked as a vet in Yorkshire. There was a traffic jam in the middle of the Yorkshire dales, and took about 20 minutes to get out of it.
His family settled in the 1800s in WA. For our ancestors, who've done lot of damage, they had an excuse. We have no excuses and must take action in our lifetime. 21% of all known mammals are at risk of extinctions. Australia's mammals have 40% gone- and it's not a record to be proud of. Japan's population is shrinking, but their economy is growing reasonable well. GDP and population growth are not linked, and shouldn't be linked.

The loss of quality if life is not just for us, but our grandchildren.
We should be looking at a 100 year, or thousand year plan, for Australia. By 3000, Queensland alone will have 1.2 billion people! Immigration is not the answer to an ageing population and the retirement of workers. It's just delaying the issue. Australia has had 25% population growth in just 14 years. This means that in 25 years we will need 25% more roads, hospitals, and it's just not possible. Galaxy poll showed that 70% of people do not want "big Australia". 50% don't want population growth at all, the other 50% don't want the consequences of population growth. A lot of the immigrants now are from India and China, and we're taking the smartest and brightest - exactly what they need. Flight Centre have a bilateral program with skills sharing between Australia, Canada and the UK. One has to replace the other.

Even an immigration rate of 75,000 per year would be high by world standards, but it would allow us to stabilize our population.
“If you've got a 5000-acre farm there is a very clear limit to how much you can grow. “If you've got 500 head of breeders (cattle) on there now you can't just grow that limitlessly; you've got to work in with what you've got for it.
We need a plan, and doubling our population by 2050 can't be maintained. Standards of living will decline, and quality of life. We need to talk on population, and also do something about it. As Attenborough said, only flat-earthers deny population growth as a problem!
Ag resources are finite warns Smith

Humans are meant to be intelligent, and of "higher" order than animals. The Earth's limits are obvious, and there's over-confidence in technology and science to overcome the constraints of Nature. Farmers know there's a carrying-capacity of their land, and overshoot means hunger and land degradation! Humans must control their assumed rights to reproduce, and governments must rein in their quest for never-ending perpetual economic growth -and stop meddling with our demographics! Politicians are cocooned in their privileges and wealth, and their addiction for endless growth is fatalistic.

Dick Smith wants a discussion, and while he's only a "car radio installer", there are better qualified people to implement it. Turner is a former vet, and it's clear we need to cut immigration to about 70,000 per year. We won't solve the problem of an ageing population with a Ponzi scheme. Something that requires perpetual growth is not sustainable. You are just pushing the problem out further. We have a huge bank of potential workers in Australia.

Economists are letting us down, and continual growth can't be supported mathematically. Productivity gains make more "stuff", and not necessary. A plan for the future would be to make less stuff, and work less hours. Less working and and less stuff we don't need. Only economists and cancer cells promote endless growth, and cancer cells actually kill their hosts!

Australia's growth is largely political policy, through immigration, while most of the world's growth is natural - and living standards are falling. We do control our immigration, our borders. It's government policy changing our population. 40% of the world lives on less than $2 a day.

The list of people I could say I admire and respect is very short, but Dick Smith has been on that list since I was an adolescent.

He deserves better from the Australian people, who tend towards apathy and treat people who want to help them with suspicion. This is an unfortunate characteristic of Australian culture that may well be our undoing.

The situation is clear though. Can most Australians actually point to the benefits they've received from growth? If you actually got people to specifically enumerate how they are better off, could they tell you anything from personal experience, aside from propaganda?

I ask people this all the time, and I always get nothing back. Just some vague mumbo jumbo about the economy. But when you bring it back to "yes, but what have YOU gained?" they come up blank.

This I think needs to be a new meme. People questioning what they themselves have benefited. What have you gained from urban sprawl, high immigration and house prices?

Missing US journalist James Wright Foley goes unflinching to his death as ISIS behead him in horrific video, as a warning to Obama. Foley, has been missing since November, 2012, after being taken hostage while reporting from Taftanaz, in northern Syria, for the agency, GlobalPost.

ISIS posted the extremely graphic video to social media as proof of their barbaric actions late on Tuesday afternoon. The video features text saying “Obama authorizes military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope towards a new war front against Muslims.” Before Foley was killed, he was forced to give an anti-American speech.

His killer, a knife-wielding black masked jihadist speaks with a British accent while threatening the U.S., including threatening death to a man who is identified as American journalist Steven Sotloff.

American airstrikes began earlier this month in an attempt to help thousands of people—members of the Yazidi, an ethnic minority in the region—who were trapped on a mountain range by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

He last tweeted on August 3, 2013. Soltoff went missing on August 4, 2013 outside of Aleppo, Syria.

There was a time not so long ago when the Vietnam War was widely viewed as the biggest misstep in American military history. 60 percent in the latest polls in America now show that they never should have been a country in the first place, so trying to make democracy work there is likely to be a thankless task. The war's faulty premise that Iraq was stockpiling deadly weapons of mass destruction continues to make the decision to invade difficult to justify. The price tag for the war, according to nonpartisan congressional researchers, was at least $806 billion, and 4480 deaths of soldiers, more than 100,000 Iraq civilians.

Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq's domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms. Armed intervention by external actors into ongoing conflicts in the Middle East will likely add fuel to the fire. The solution must be financial, not through conflict.

Until about five years ago, conservationists considered the African elephant a success story. New trade laws that helped reduce the once-booming international demand for ivory, awareness campaigns, and better monitoring and protection for elephants had changed the dynamics on the ground.

But now the poachers are back, and in force. In one instance, rangers found the mangled carcass of an elephant herd’s matriarch, her trunk chopped off and her face gruesomely defleshed in an attempt to reach the top of her jaw to cut out as much of her tusks as possible.

Where have all the elephants gone

Central Africa has lost 64 percent of its elephants in a decade. Ivory-seeking poachers have killed 100,000 African elephants in just three years, according to a new study that provides the first reliable continent-wide estimates of illegal kills. The demand for ivory, most notably in China and elsewhere in Asia, and the confusion caused by a one-time sale of confiscated ivory have helped keep black market prices high in Africa. The legal ivory market provides a screen under which a parallel illegal trade can thrive. Elephant births boost numbers by about five per cent each year, meaning more are being killed than are being born.

Poachers can sell two full tusks for up to $10,000 (£6,000) and a renewed demand for ivory in China is believed to be spurring the illegal killing, the study reports.

In Asia many elephants are live in terrible, inhumane conditions, and treated like possessions, even though they are now endangered species. Many baby elephants are captured in the wild and used for the tourism/entertainment industry and are subjected to brutal tactics called “Crushing” in order to be “trained”. Crushing “Wild baby elephants are separated from their families, and subjected to a brutal practice, where they are tied up, confined, beaten and tortured to break their spirits” (elephantfamily.org)

Save The Elephants
A UK-led seven-person rowing crew has broken two world records for the fastest-ever crossing of the Indian Ocean in a rowing boat. The Rossiter’s Avalon also achieved the longest rowing record having arrived in the Seychelles at 14:58 GMT (18:58 local time) on August 7. At least there are some athletes willing to bring the plight of elephants to the world.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has warned that if the government's proposed budget spending cuts are not passed, "the only alternative to balance the books is to increase taxes".

Universities and tertiary students will be held at ransom for their lifeblood funding, and unaffordable educational fees, unless the "reforms" are passed.

"We have laid out our plan to reduce the unsustainable spending growth trajectory Labor left behind," he said.

This sounds typically like political double-talk, and is contradictory. Our whole economic model is based on economic growth, and typically the Abbott government is blaming the previous government for over-spending.

Mr Pyne said that without reform, Australian universities would "slide into mediocrity" and that "rather than presiding over the slow decline of the manufacturing sector, I'll be presiding over the slow decline of the higher education sector.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann refuses to rule out tax increases at http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/finance-minister-mathias-cormann-refuses-to-rule-out-tax-increases-20140824-107qlq.html

On the contrary, tertiary education is already sliding downhill, and universities have adopted a business model largely based on overseas students, and courses that maximise profits.

The National Accounts show Australia's economy grew by a better-than-expected 1.1 per cent in the March quarter. Over the year to March, the Bureau of Statistics figures show the economy also outperformed expectations, growing by 3.5 per cent. However, this abstract "growth" is failing to deliver budgets that are sufficient to provide basic services and welfare.

In an address to the National Press Club recently, businessman Dick Smith said endless population and economic growth was like a “religious faith” for graduates of university degrees in economics and questioning whether these two things were beneficial for Australians was something of a taboo in public discussion. Left unchecked, our population would surge to 80 to 100 million by the end of the century, and he said that kind of perpetual growth would only serve wealthy Australians, while the majority of the population would suffer a decline in living conditions and be worse off.

Read more: Dick Smith challenges 'faith' in benefits of population and economic growth at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dick-smith-challenges-faith-in-benefits-of-population-and-economic-growth-20140813-3dmx0.html

There needs to be a stock-take of the priorities that we should take, and what the real aim of our economy is- more quantity or more quality of life.

The short-circuit to economic growth is population growth, of adding more and more consumers. However, it means the crushing costs of schools, health care, basic infrastructure and lowering standards of living. If we can't afford high quality, and affordable, university education and research, then the priorities are becoming short-changes, and myopic!

Read more: Finance Minister Mathias Cormann refuses to rule out tax increases at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/finance-minister-mathias-cormann-refuses-to-rule-out-tax-increases-20140824-107qlq.htm

I just heard on the 10:00AM news on ABC NewsRadio (621 on the AM frequency band in Melbourne) – can anyone tell me where podcasts or transcripts are kept? – Victorian Premier Denis Napthine talk of large numbers of jobs that the Victorian Government has created. The figures he cited were in the order of at least tens of thousands. He then complained that population growth was was outstripping his efforts to create jobs.

If so, perhaps Denis Napthine could explain why his government, against the wishes of at least 70% of Victorians continues to promote that very population growth. The Victorian Government site Live in Victoria at http://www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au actually encourages people from other countries to migrate to Victoria with its high unemployment crowded living, traffic congestion, diminishing public spaces and natural reserves and massive consequent social problems.

The following hourly ABC Radio National news bulletin at 11:00AM omitted the story that Victorian Premier Napthine had complained that population growth had undermined his efforts to reduce unemployment. I would be interested to know if their is any public record of this or if anyone else could confirm hearing that news item ton the 10:00AM news bulletin.

The State government has cooperated with banks and property developers to create a housing Ponzi scheme in Victoria, propped up by ramped population growth and powerful lobby groups gaining preferential treatment. Housing, housing and more housing is being created in a great frenzy of "developments" from deregulation, and the impacts of homelessness, joblessness, and embedded debt are being ignored. It's a hollowed-out economy, and produces no real productivity or commodities. It's short-term gain over the long term impacts on our budgets, living standards, is adding to the social dysfunction of Victoria, and producing massive "shortages" of everything. Amazing if Naphine every admitted this - or does it mean heading for the election is making them less tongue-tied on what they say?

Pages