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Fix Our Politics

For the 80% of us in the sensible centre of Australian life

Website: www.sensiblecentre.org.au

We think both Right and Left have failed to empower ordinary citizens and instead created a political and managerial class that puts its own interests before the community and national interest. We also think that about 80% of Australians are of the same mind.

We have a Ten-Point Platform for the coming federal election:

· Restore civility to politics and end the culture wars

· Remove career politicians from Canberra and return to citizen self-government

· Wind back the managerial class so we can reform our institutions

· Break-up the Big Four banks, Big Three utilities, Big Two retailers and One Big Telco

· Limit CEO salaries in companies subject to federal licencing (banks, finance, AusPost) with a cap at 40 times the company's lowest wage

In Praise of climate deniers (not)

Well not really praise as such but, bear with me, while I justify wandering into this absurdity. I know it's difficult to say nice things about MP Craig Kelly, who claimed that people would die because renewables were raising electricity prices. He was perhaps unaware that the World Health Organisation in 2008 calculated that coal particulate pollution caused one million deaths across the world. And Tony Abbott who, between mouthfuls of onion, told us that coal was good for humanity - which was in opposition to both the Pope and the British Royal family's position - the two institutes he holds dear to his heart. Those are just two of 34 confirmed deniers in the LNP, although the Institute of Public Affairs claims half of the LNP members are supporters of their position.

The Left Has Been Highjacked

The left has been hijacked by unwitting servants of the neo-liberal agenda.

I was talking to a friend the other day explaining how I always considered myself left wing, but now apparently I wasn’t. I explained why and she declared that the left has been hijacked.

And it struck me: she is right, it totally has. Remember when the left was about worker’s rights? It was about preventing the rich giving themselves privileges whilst denying ordinary people both rights and access to resources. It was, in large part, about protecting people and the environment from the rapacious appetites of the elite rich. In short, the left was about ensuring that everyone had a level of human dignity and the ability to raise a healthy, happy and educated family.

Things are Desperate - a Last Chance at Change Through Politics


Hi Everyone,

This is a call to arms. The science and other evidence is now without doubt - we are in the final days of our civilisation, whatever it might be called by history; it is hardly Western Civilisation anymore, since the destruction of nature (and I would argue human values, and quite possibly humans) has extended now across the globe.

We have environmentalists who, mostly in small groups, have been fighting the enslaught against nature since industrialism began. They have had their successes, but the rate of destruction is too fast and vicious, and their efforts are overwhelmed.

There is one example that has recently prompted me to post this call. At Stanley one company (with more soon to join) are buying farmland and mining the water i.e extracting the water which is supposed to be for farming and selling it as though it is their own private property. This is not like mining gold, extracting water in this way extracts it from all the neighbours as well. And now more companies/selfish individuals look likely to join the extraction, adding to the problem.

Practical Ways in Which Everyone Can Improve Society


Not many people are Christians these days. However, there is one aspect of Christian thought which is perhaps worth modern atheists considering. That is the idea that improvement needs to come from the ground up – i.e. from the grass roots. We may lament the poor quality of our politicians, the corruption of political donations, the failure of neo-liberalism, and we may feel we are somewhat powerless against these. Christian thought says otherwise. Christian thought sees society as a product of its members, as a sum produced from the parts. Under this ideology, if you improve the parts you improve the overall organism. Thus according to this idea - which in modern language is perhaps associated with the term synergy - individuals are not powerless. In fact, the quality of the whole depends on the quality of the parts.

The problem is power, and our failure to learn

A couple of years back a Vietnamese colleague of mine told me how his father had to flee from Vietnam (after the war I believe). I asked about his family, and apart from his father, who was an academic, the rest were all farmers. Curious about how bad things really were in Vietnam before the war, and in so-called 'poor developing nations' in general, I enquired about the standard of living of his farming relatives, in particular his uncle - whom we were discussing. The first question was "Did he ever go hungry?". The answer was a no, hunger was never really an issue. The next question was "How hard did he work?" Here I was imagining dawn-to-dusk drudgery in the fields. My friend's reply was 'about four hours a day". At the end of this conversation life as a peasant farmer in Vietnam didn't seem too bad, debt free, and no (or little) risk of hunger or unemployment.

No politicians with ideas, please!

Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull like many other politicians seem to think of themselves as ideas men. Do we really need politicians with 'ideas' or are they a liability?

How Jackson, Lawler and Abbott tangled Thomson with the HSU - by Peter Wicks

There are many suspicious features about Craig Thomson’s Health Services Union imbroglio, but notable among them are the apparently close links between HSU “whistleblower” Kathy Jackson and Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Peter Wicks uncovers a very tangled web

There Are Limits To Conservation

In our one-party growthist state, left and right factions wage a phoney battle of whether to grow the energy pie to satisfy growing demand or to slow down that growth with more conservation measues. But conservation only postpones the day of reckoning. It is time that we stopped growth at its roots.

You-tube film: The Story of Your Enslavement

Click on picture to view video This is a good film about how government and capitalism deprives people of freedom and gets them to coerce each other. It attributes increases in wealth since the second world war to increases in financial freedom, apparently not understanding the importance of the vast store of fossil fuels we have exploited since the 18th century. Nonetheless it makes good and valid points on a classic them.

US Corporations threaten peoples' internet - read and act

"Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon -- the most powerful broadband providers -- are trying to fundamentally change the way the Internet works. They're seeking to make even bigger profits by acting as gatekeepers over what we see and do online. If they succeed, the Internet would be more like radio and television: a few major corporations would control which voices are heard most easily, and it would be much harder for grassroots groups, individuals, and small businesses to compete with large corporations and well-funded special interests."

Is 'Incentivisation' and Coercion Needed to meet the Population Challenge?

Many population- environment organizations concerned about human population impact on the planet believe they cannot talk about ‘coercive’ population policies, only education and good access to family planning. But are they falling into the same trap as environmental organizations that refuse to acknowledge the overriding evidence that our ever growing numbers are a key part of the problems we face?

Joe Toscano - Your local anarchist on podcast; antidote to the Jon Faine & Madonna Kings of the airwaves

Tired, angry, frightened by your government and big business? Surrounded by hysterical idiots? ABC and the shockjocks make you grind your teeth? Don't know where to turn? Need to get a grip? - Look for the Joe Toscano anarchist pod-casts on 3CR Victoria. You can download his soothing but relevant political counsel every week. It's all about relocalise, energy, population, democracy and land-tenure. It's called anarchism, and Joe is the only person I've ever heard talk about it coherently and simply.

Polluters, Pollies or Pettifoggery?

During the same month, on 25 February, Dennis Jensen kneecapped his leader by issuing a press release denying that humans are causing climate change, and pointed to Adolf Hitler as an example of how scientists can be wrong. “So, where is this leading to?” readers may ask. Well it’s all to do with the pestilence of propaganda.

Well done GW: It's a dirty job but someone has to do it

Political analyst, Dr Ted Trainer, takes political spectators of the world to task for their harsh judgement of President Bush's achievements. He calls Bush's detractors, "Not just uncharitable but lacking in insight about the way the world works and what has to be done to maintain our way of life." He says, "President Bush has done a great job here in very difficult circumstances, and he does not get due credit", and explains just why...

Harold Pinter has died

Pinter won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2005. Here are some exerpts from his searing denunciation of United States realpolitik in his Nobel Prize speech. Really worth reading...

The battle for Brown Mountain is on

In 1995, when John Brumby was in opposition, he made a very stirring speech at a forest rally in Melbourne. "... that's what we'll do when we're in government - no more export woodchipping, an industry in the future based on plantations and the proper protection of our high conservation value forests." Unfortunately, it was not true.

Same money, same message: Barrack Obama (US) and Jack Layton (Canada)

US Democrat Barrack Obama and Canadian Social Democrat Jack Layton are just two different kinds of ventriloquists' doll, and the voice we hear through their lips is paid for by Wall Street. It's not what they say; it's who pays them that matters.

High-immigration lobbyist blames high immigration for housing crisis on April Fools Day.

In yet another bizarre twist in the property development lobby's constant pushing for high immigration, one of the strongest advocates of constant immigration increases over the past decade, Ron Silberberg, Managing Director of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) appears to have come out blaming immigration for the housing crisis which his own push for immigration helped to create.

"There has been an uncontrolled expansion of the immigration program," Dr Silberberg told a Senate committee in Canberra, according to an AAP sourced article, "Immigration blamed for housing crisis," in The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday April 1, 07:01PM.

Analysts were still unsure whether this was an April Fools joke.

Time, money and patience wasted by incompatible computers, printers and software

Does globalised big-business infotechnology AIM to waste the time of intellectuals so that they cannot contribute to politics? I don't know, but it sure is a side effect of the increasingly lousy personal energy returns on increasingly expensive overly complex STINGY computer hardware and software products.

What is this thing called "Progress"?

Many people look forward uncritically to a future not too different from the cartoon-world of the Jetsons, where people have mechanical maids, whiz around in airborne cars, and take space-cruises to asteroids and far off planets. Politics continue benignly and poverty has no place. Political rank is preserved in the form of cheerful paternal talking heads, but the slave and servile ranks have been transformed into machines which cannot feel pain or humiliation. A wealthy, not too intelligent middle-class has inherited this astro-playground and keeps order among itself by switching from child to parent in an artificial recreation of the family and original clan system.

Are nuclear fusion, fission and 'renewables' viable alternatives to fossil fuels?

On top of the hazards of nuclear fission electricity generation, even more environmental threats are posed by mining of uranium, enrichment, reprocessing and disposal of nuclear wastes. A likely consequence of the expansion of uranium mining in Central Australia is that the Eastern seaboard stands to be exposed to clouds bearing poisonous radioactive uranium and other toxic metals blown from the mine tailings dumps (see David Bradbury's film "Blowin' in the wind" for a graphic illustration of this threat).

Mayors of South East Queensland seek help from developers to push growth plan

A recent publication of the Council of Mayors South East Queensland highlights that the mayors of SEQ are seeking help from developers to push the Local Growth Management Strategies (LGMS). These are legal planning documents that force each local government area in South East Queensland to accept unsustainable growth.

The Australian's white-anting of Australian democracy continues

Rupert Murdoch's media empire, since it successfully campaigned to bring down the Whitlam government in 1974 and 1975, has similarly abused its power all over the globe in order to ensure that only governments, whose policies are acceptable to it, will remain in office.

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