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Sheila Newman's blog

About Sheila Newman, social researcher

Click on "About Sheila Newman, social researcher" to read more and for links to books by Sheila and reviews.

It is hard to label me conventionally because I really write in a new paradigm, in the spirit of E.O. Wilson's 'consilience', i.e. where social and physical sciences come together.

For sociologists an early start-point for my work was Catton & Dunlap. My first research thesis compared population, energy and environment policies in Australia and France.

Response to Manipulative population interactive on ABC that tries to normalise the babyboom

The page I am writing about is on the Australian ABC website, entitled, "You decide Australia’s population, we’ll show you how it looks," by journalist Inga Ting, Mark Doman, Ri Liu and Nathan Hoad. The arguments presented are a kind of demographer's fantasy. Demography is not population science; it is maths and statistics. Maths and statistics are not themselves science. They can be used as much for population science, to test theories, as they can be used for advertising and propaganda. Demographers are often also economists and they usually try to establish trends in population numbers in isolation from the environment, social values, or deep history. What they call population science is usually only economics, which many people think is now practised as a dogma. They do not tend to challenge propaganda and, for this reason, they are very useful for governments and corporate media that want to push peoples' thinking in a certain direction about population.[1] This interactive article on the ABC gets the reader to make certain decisions, comes up with biased feedback, and then invites the reader to change their minds. To be unbiased, this interactive would need to list the positives of lowering population growth. It fails to. It does mention some as opinions, but it does not employ related arguments in its presentation of demographic trends in Australia.

Oz Open Software OSIA slams DFAT's brazen denial of TPP secrecy

DFAT's CPTPP "Myth Busters" document[1] attracted further scrutiny today when OSIA criticised the document's brazen denial---despite a widely publicised history to the contrary---of the secrecy employed throughout the TPP (and subsequently CPTPP) negotiations. This follows hot on the heels of OSIA's criticism of the document's comments on economic modelling[2] and ISDS[3] as biased and misleading.

The DFAT document described as a myth that "The Government negotiated the deal in secret''. This belies a long and well documented history of the process's near complete lack of public transparency. Indeed DFAT themselves have said the exact opposite about TPP negotiations before: in 2013 DFAT Acting First Assistant Secretary Ms Elizabeth Bowes, stated in Senate Estimates " fact the process whereby the negotiating texts remain confidential is consistent with standard international treaty negotiating practice so that applies across the board."[4]

Video: Planned US-North Korea summit - Top interview w/former US diplomat

Press TV Iran produces superior, intellectual interviews and debates for the English language viewer and this interview is no exception. Waqar Rizvi interviews author and former US diplomat, Michael Springmann, from Washington, about the planned meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Springman has a wry sense of humour and a good feeling for comparative history, which sets him somewhat ahead of many Washington commentators. If you are interested in how Kim Jong-un and the US president came to be nose to nose, you will enjoy this. If you are really worried about nuclear holocaust, it might make some sense out of our predicament.

ABC Australia fails basic war-reporting standards - Middle East specialist

"Before becoming an academic I was for many years a journalist, with the Herald and Age in Melbourne, with UPI and AP in London and with the 'daily star' in Beirut. Thus I have a reasonable idea of what journalistic standards should be, and again, in publishing Sophie O'Neill's report, 'bombed, starved, trapped: this could be the worst place on Earth to be a child', the ABC has again violated them." (Dr Jeremy Salt). Dr Salt is the author of The Unmaking of the Middle East. A History of Western Disorder in Arab Lands, University of California Press, 2008) See also

Bill Digest for Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

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Warning: All viewers of this digest are advised to visit the disclaimer appearing at the end of this document. The disclaimer sets out the status and purpose of the digest.

BILLS DIGEST NO. 81, 2017-18 20 FEBRUARY 2018

Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017 Damon Muller Politics and Public Administration Section


An ecological and humanistic response to Breunig & Fabian's defense of massive immigration to Australia

I found what struck me personally as egregious growthist propaganda dressed up as an academic research article on The Conversation, yesterday: "Blaming immigrants for unemployment, lower wages and high house prices is too simplistic." [February 23, 2018 11.26am AEDT]. The article was headed up by professor of economics, Robert Breunig from the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, and co-authored by Mark Fabian, Postgraduate student, Australian National University. Professor Breunig disclosed that he receives funding from the Productivity Commission, which I think is a leopard with continuously changing arrangement of spots according to whatever political background it needs to blend into for survival. Leith van Onselen's debate with Migration Council's CEO Carla Wilshire of the on the ABC’s National Wrapdocumented here, seems to illustrate this, but for all I know the professor and his student actually believe what they write.

A marsupial in wolf's clothing - First 3D digital models reveal convergent evolution

Researchers from Museums Victoria and the University of Melbourne have CT scanned all 13 known Tasmanian tiger joey specimens to create 3D digital models which have allowed them to study their skeletons and internal organs, and reconstruct their growth and development. This has revealed important new information about how this unique extinct marsupial evolved to look so similar to the dingo, despite being very distantly related.

Protest: St Kilda Road vandalised 21 Feb, 1pm in front of the domain building

St Kilda Road, Melbourne's Champs Elysees, is being vandalised for population growth that we don't need, but big business is imposing. Join a public protest Wednesday 21 Feb 2018, 1pm-1.30pm. The meeting is now in the reserve which is outside 1 Albert Road. It’s a triangle of land in the fork of Albert Road. Some more details and yellow arrow on map inside.

Interview with Cristine Hong: What's happening on the Korean Peninsula

In this podcast interview inside, Christine Hong speaks about the Korean history not told in corporate media, present day moves towards peace on the peninsula, and more. The interview is by journalist Eva Bartlett.

Video: Koreans talk peace - positive analysis by Crosstalk

The games have begun. The younger sister of North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un has captured the attention of the media, while US Vice President Mike Pence was mocked as a dud, even undiplomatic. The two Koreas are engaging each other. This makes the Washington foreign policy swamp fume. CrossTalking video with Brian Becker, Gregory Elich, and Myung-Koo Kang. This Crosstalk video pretty much covers the major bases in 30 minutes, with a stunningly well-informed cast.

What is the most credible conspiracy theory you know? [Translation from French version]

[This is a translation from the French version, "Quelle est la théorie du complot la plus crédible que vous connaissez?"] The mass media is the mouthpiece of the corporate world. It pretends to reflect the opinions of we masses but, in reality, it tries to create a perception that the exploitative economic system benefits us. Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent is about this conspiracy. Chomsky shows how people are convinced that the corporate media reflects the opinions and thoughts of ordinary people, even if it isn't true. Ordinary people continue to read the corporate media, believing that it will represent them. They finish up adapting to what is presented to them as the opinion of their equals, even though this is rarely true.

The idea of 'fake news' is a feature of this propaganda machine, which now characterises all criticism of its prejudices as 'fake news'. This distortion of reality is more exaggerated and obvious in video games and social media, which exploit a younger, naive, social cohort, who lack classical education.

I think that one of the principal results of this media has been the stigmatisation of nationalism. When you think of it, what other concept can unite a country? Initially, small localities resisted the notion of 'nations' because they feared that nations would overwhelm their self-determination, their identities, their societiies and their local economies. In many cases, they were right, although the French system of communes within the roman (Napoleonic) system, resisted this better than the Anglosphere systems.

Quelle est la théorie du complot la plus crédible que vous connaissez?

Les médias de masse sont le porte-parole du monde des grandes entreprises. Ils prétendent refléter l'opinion de masse mais, en réalité, ils essaient de créer une perception que ce système économique exploiteur est à notre avantage. Le livre de Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, traitait de ce complot. En francais ce livre s'intitule, La fabrication du consentement : De la propagande médiatique en démocratie. Il y en a qui disent que depuis Chomsky a ete coopté dans la disinformation, neanmoins ce livre montre comment les gens ordinaires sont convaincus que les médias reflètent ce que les gens ordinaires pensent, même si ce n'est pas vrai. Les gens continuent à lire les mass media, croyant que cela les représentera et ils s'adaptent à ce qu'il leur present comme l'opinion de leurs egaux, bien que ce soit rarement la vérité.

L'idée de «fausses nouvelles» est une caractéristique de cette machine de propagande, qui désigne désormais toutes les critiques de ses préjugés comme de «fausses nouvelles». La distorsion de la réalité est plus exagérée et évidente dans les jeux vidéo et les médias sociaux, qui exploitent une classe plus jeune, naïve et sociale, plus bovienne, sans éducation classique.

Je crois que l'un des principaux résultats de ces médias a été la stigmatisation du nationalisme. Quand vous y pensez, quel autre concept unificateur peut unir un pays? Au départ, les petites localités ont résisté à la notion de «nations» parce qu'elles craignaient que les nations ne subsument leur autodétermination, leur identités, leur societés et leur economies locales. Dans de nombreux cas, ils avaient raison, bien que le système de communes français dans le systeme romane (napoleonique) ait résisté à cela mieux que les systèmes de l'anglosphere.

Is Melbourne Water removing trees near you? What about the wildlife? Locations inside

Animals are losing their trees in droves. The cause is population growth. There is a new tree removing policy for all dams and retarding basins in Victoria, treating small retarding basins as if they were big dams, and treating trees as problems, where previously they were considered desirable. See inside for locations. This policy applies in other states as well. VicRoads is also suddenly removing trees en-masse from roadsides and median strips! None of these policies gives adequate consideration to wildlife habitat or cruelty impacts. There is no overall coordinating policy for Australia to ensure the preservation of wildlife and wildlife corridors at local, state and national levels, nor to avoid heat-island creation and local climate change, or citizen despair. With constant clearing for new suburbs and roads all over habitable Australia, tree removal by governments and contractors is reaching the level of a national civil emergency.

AWPC - Melbourne Water correspondence on tree removal wildlife impact Lee St Retardant Basin

AWPC writes that only two of its questions were answered satisfactorily. It asks Melbourne Water what happens to the wildlife after the clearing? “The AWPC, wildlife rescuers and shelters regularly experience the fallout of such projects. Consultants and wildlife handlers are contracted at a premium price, only to hand over displaced, orphaned and injured wildlife to either vets or local wildlife shelters who are then expected to deal with these sentinel beings at their own cost. Quite frankly this is unacceptable and needs to stop, which is why the AWPC ask you the following questions once again.” Inside, full correspondence to date.

AWPC: Bush Heritage big assertions on kangaroo culls need evidence before any action

"Bush heritage makes some rather big assertions about the impact of kangaroos at their Scottdale reserve and the impacts this wildlife species is having on the biodiversity there. If Bush Heritage is serious about their claims then they need to be a little more transparent," writes Craig Thomson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.

AWPC writes to Melbourne Water re threat to de-tree Lee St retardant basin wildlife corridor

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council has written a letter to Melbourne Water, David Fairbridge, Frankston, and Lisa Neville, the Victorian Minister for the Environment, about a plans to remove mature trees from a wildlife corridor on the batters of a retardant basin in Frankston. They have received concern from the local community members that the threat of flooding to the local community at the Lee St retarding basin has not deemed a risk in the past and believe the proposed clearance of vegetation is excessive and will have significant impact on fauna as well as other issues, particularly of erosion and dust as well. They ask Melbourne Water a number of questoins and note that they expect that every possible measure will be undertaken to see if in fact clearing is necessary and if so that appropriate actions are taken and that local wildlife shelters are not left too pick up the pieces of poor planning.

Melbourne Water about to de-tree Koala corridor in Frankston

Melbourne Water is about to de-tree Frankston koala corridor by removing mature trees from banks of a huge park with a water retarding basin in it at Lee Street Frankston 3199. They are claiming that the trees are 'destabilising' the banks. But of course the trees are holding the banks together and keeping the water-table down. Who is accountable for these kinds of decisions that are based on what sound like lies that make no sense? Frankston Council is apparently going along with this. It seems totally insane and anti-life and nature. Inside is a video alerting us to the details.

Video debate: Washington’s deployment plan in Syria - Iranian Press TV

Although the US presence in Syria is illegal, the US is talking about putting more troops there, presumably to fire up a war that the Russians and the Syrians have almost succeeded in extinguishing. Erdoğan has accused the US of planning to form 'terror army' in Syria: 'Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born’, said the Turkish president of 30,000-strong force aimed at dividing and conquering Syria by promoting a Kurdish separist movement. In this edition of The Debate, Press TV has conducted an interview with Hafsa Kara-Mustapha, a journalist and political commentator from London, and Wafik Moustafa, the chairman of Conservative Arab Network, from London, to discuss the United States' plans to station 30,000 militants on the Syrian borders with Turkey and Iraq. This videoed debate was first published on Iranian Press tv on Tue Jan 16, 2018 at

Novotel construction coincides with skyrocketing Spectacled Flying fox casualties in Cairns Library Colony

Wildlife rescuer and carer, Rebecca Koller, has observed an unprecedented number of Spectacled flying fox casualties in a traditional breeding site located near a new hotel construction in Cairnes. The spectacled flying fox is a threatened species.[1] Despite many attempts to get the Australian government to investigate and or intervene, the government has failed to get back to her. This is even though the problem has received extensive publicity and the species is about to have its threatened status upgraded from vulnerable to endangered. The source of this article is correspondence between Ms Koller and The Australian Wildlife Protection Council.

Stop Population Growth Now: Candidate announcements and call for candidates SA elections March 2018

Bob Couch and Michael Roberts will be contesting the Legislative Council on behalf of Stop Population Growth Now at the March election. Their website is at

Oz media joins US witch hunt of celebrities - Geoffrey Rush targeted

I am disgusted to hear that actor Geoffrey Rush has been refused the details of an accusation of 'inappropriate behaviour'. This has apparently left him accused and unable to defend himself except by denying a vague claim from a person unknown. He appears to have been denied natural justice by his accusers and by the newsmedia, which has sensationalised the little information it has been able to glean. Publishing this news without objecting to this manner of disclosure should be seen as defamation.

Where's NATO? Putin, Assad win Syrian war

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Sochi on 21st November 2017. The last time Assad visited Russia was at the beginning of the Russian campaign in Syria in 2015. According to the Syrian president, in two years of the Russian campaign the successes achieved have been evident and many residents of the country were able to return to their homes. He noted that thanks to Russia, Syria was saved as a state. (Text by Inessa S.)

Koala found Frankston Reserve on day Parks Vic about to tear down fences

A koala was photographed today (25 November 2017) in the Frankston Reserve, just as Parks Victoria are about to rip down the fences and open the gates for 24 hour recreational access. This park had been until recently a natural reserve for wildlife, established with great difficulty by local wildlife activists and scientists. Urgent action is required to stop Parks Victoria from giving the public 24hr access to Frankston Reserve. It was always a stupid and selfish decision to reverse the status of a natural reserve which had been acquired with such difficulty by people who actually cared about our wildlife. The presence of the koala emphasises the tragic folly of this decision. Please write to Frankston Council and these parliamentarians: lily.d' Yes, this is the e-mail address from her parliamentary web page - Ed);;

Easter Island, Nauru and the Future-Eating Global Growth Economy

Expansive Economies and Limited Economies: Industrial capitalism is characterized by population growth, economic growth, expansion and intensification. [1] Although there was a short-lived case of industrial capitalism between about 1585 and 1622 in the Netherlands, [2] industrial capitalism as we know it today really originated in England, based on the apparently limitless fossil reserves of coal and the presence of many landless people who had to live by their labour. [3] These vast reservoirs of fuel gave rise to technologies that permitted mass production and facilitated the conquest and settlement of lands all over the globe. In the 20th century petroleum oil replaced coal as the fuel of industrial expansion, particularly where wheeled transport was concerned, although coal remained a mainstay for electricity production. [This article is an extract from Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013, which is part of a four-book series, of which the first two have so far been published.]

Roo scientists admit industry stimulates roo population growth whilst calling roos pests

This scientific submission on commercial kangaroo management was closely based on the literature from the industry, which proved to be a revelation in what it actually admitted about its manipulation of kangaroo population numbers. Basically, the very small number of scientists dominating the academic literature and the industry have stated (variously) that the industry artificially stimulates population growth rebound beyond normal numbers in targeted populations of kangaroos; that they then justify their industry and culls on the basis that the animals are too populous and a pest; that the Australian public would not allow the industry to continue if they did not swallow the line that kangaroos are a pest; that although the industry and population culls are justified in order to prevent damage to grasslands and erosion by overgrazing, this is in fact false, and the example is given of kangaroos even at 50 per square km making almost no impact on the land, whereas the sheep that the industry is purportedly saving the land for, devastate it. This is my second article on kangaroo science (see the other one here) and I did not go into it expecting to find such blatant snake oil passing for research among a very small cognoscenti, but here it is. I’m was surprised as you will be. Also, one final word, even if the industry is correct in saying that it artificially boosts kangaroo numbers in order to have enough kangaroos to ‘harvest’, as I say at the end, that does not apply to all populations and that does not mean that the strategy is not causing population crashes and demographic anomalies, for reasons that I raise in this article. If you think there are fewer kangaroos around, you may well be right and have a better idea than the industry itself. (This researched article by evolutionary sociologist Sheila Newman [1] was originally submitted to the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 ( on behalf of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council on 7 October 2017.)

Video: Russia and Iran close the gap and stand together - Putin & Rouhani historic meeting

This article was republished on the Syrian Free Press on 4 Nov 2017.

[UPDATE 7 Nov 2017: Added excerpts from President Rouhani's speech.] I was riveted by this video in its presentation of the antithesis of United States policy in new agreements between Russia and Iran. The video begins with a remarkable political message in the ceremonial exchange of documents of agreement on very important material matters, which should make a big difference to politics in the region - and won't please the United States. These included agreements on nuclear energy transport cooperation, oil and gas exploration, technology and information technology, railway electrification, urban construction and development, trade in the energy industry, visa-free travel for groups between Russia and Iran, and agreement on extradition of convicted persons between the two countries and cooperation on legal affairs. In addition they agreed on mutual cooperation in fighting Islamic extremism, the encouragement of cultural exchange and sports, and working on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. This news conference was part of a trilateral meeting of Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Putin and Rouhani appear in the video. You have to be aware of the momentous nature of the agreements in order to appreciate this otherwise somewhat stilted piece of diplomatic theatre. America has been trying to isolate and weaken Iran, which has both considerable oil reserves and a catbird seat on the shores of the oil-rich (if logistically highly problematic) Caspian Sea. America has backed wars in the region, invaded neighbours, and tried to undermine support for Russia in the Middle East because it wants permanent influence there. Obama, in his negotiations about Iran's use of nuclear power, may have been trying to keep some communications open, but Mr Trump has breached all democracy by openly threatening Iran. Iran (now that Syria has been crippled) is the leading technological and socially progressive power in the region, bitterly resented by Saudi Arabia and Israel. Now, apparently ironically, but actually quite naturally, Russia has resealed and expanded its friendship with Iran. In so doing, it has made Iran much more secure. How will the United States, NATO and the EU respond to this?

What are the 3 factors that induced rapid population growth?

This article comes from a response to a Quora question and sumarises a lot of material from my books on population theory.[1] It raises a number of factors that 'traditional' demographic theory usually cannot investigate due to its very narrow range of inquiry. There are more than three factors mentioned here and they are: Sea-level rise after last glacial maximus pushed populations together and created more fertility opportunities; Changing transport technology created more fertility opportunities; The rise of cities created more fertility opportunities; and the commodification of land and the rise of money created more fertility opportunities; local tribes had immunity to local pathogens so had lower infant mortality and better life expectancy; Inheritance law variations and the creation of land-less labor; The importance of fossil fuel (coal, petroleum) in expanding and supporting bigger populations; to which I could have added, the importance of wood supply as a pre-fossil-fuel limiter of population. I also mention that the theory explored does not conflict with Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory which Dawkins used to develop his 'Selfish Gene' theory, however it does identify countervailing forces to the associated 'Every creature breeds to the maximum' theory.

Small Business Ombudsman: "High energy costs slash small business investment"

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has expressed dismay that politicians continue to argue over energy policy while small businesses suffer.
Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the latest East & Partners SME survey* of 1280 businesses showed 70 per cent would reduce investment in capital expenditure because of higher energy prices.

Galaxy Poll finds overwhelming support for Dick Smith on population

Dick Smith commissioned a Galaxy poll to assess both the impact of his $1 million TV ad campaign based on the Grim Reaper AIDS ad of the 1980s, and community attitudes towards Australia’s developed-world-leading immigration-fueled rapid population growth. The sample comprised 1,005 respondents, distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas – the report is attached. The main findings of the poll were:

 The majority of Australians (83%) believe that population growth is of such significant consequence that every major political party should have a population plan.
 There is an overwhelming belief that politicians should be doing something about population growth (82%).
 Population growth is an issue of concern for the majority of supporters of both the Coalition (62%) and the Labor Party (62%).
 Among those that have seen the TV ad 91% are convinced that every major political party should have a population plan.


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