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Corruption

A tale of three cities - and there's a sting in the tail

"This proposal by Ms Turnbull is just a diversion, an absurdity not worthy of being called a thimble and pea trick, but the agenda behind her smokescreen is worth examining. The GSC is a body set up by premier Baird who, you will recall, had been elected in 2011 on a platform of getting rid of what was undoubtedly the unaccountable and corrupt planning regime of the Labor government. But Premier Baird's promises of returning planning to the community and the councils was soon forgotten and his new government launched reforms that bypassed all community input. These proved to be so unpopular with the public that they were withdrawn and, instead, Premier Baird introduced the GSC, which essentially did the same thing."

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.

Broken Borders

While the media and political debates focus on cracking down on boat people, Fairfax media have exposed that rampant visa fraud is happening. It's a multifaceted yarn. Up to 9 in 10 skilled migrant visas are bogus.

Militants are suspects in visa frauds. Afghan applicants 90% flawed!

Kleptomania and the Contract State: the political threat to Melbourne’s liveability (Article by Kenneth Davidson)

See also: Wasteful budgets mar state projects (8/5/2014) by Kenneth Davidson in The Age.
"The Victorian government appears to be bent on creating ‘rent-seeking’ opportunities for construction companies and financial institutions rather than meeting the transport needs of the community." (Kenneth Davidson) The following article is the text of a speech given by Kenneth Davidson at the Protectors of Public Lands Victoria AGM 10 May 2014 (Emphases and heading by candobetter.net editor.)

U.S constitution was a 'coup' by the oligarchy (Article by Riviera Sun)

This article contains very interesting information of which I was unaware. It's judgement on the American Constitution confirms my own impression that the US constitution is an empty and ridiculous document compared to the French Civil Code (which was taken up by all European nations eventually, inc Russia). In my view it is not possible to have significant real democracy with the British land-tenure system that dominates much of the United States because of its tendency to accumulate vast amounts of land and significant assets in private hands. The Napoleonic system (which built on the French Revolution) preserves power in local hands to regulate use of public land, which the inheritance (land tenure) laws tend to keep topping up. In fact, I have found that the contribution and example of the US revolution to the French Revolution, though much touted, was actually very weak and that one of the famous actors in both the US and the French Revolution, La Fayette, was suspected, with good grounds, of being a double agent.

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Where is Billy??!! Thai human rights activist disappearance alert

Can you *please* read this short article and sign an online petition to help find a Thai Karen human rights activist who has "disappeared" recently, just before he was to give eyewitness testimony in a trial related to the abuses of power alledgedly committed by park officials, including the murder of another activist in September 2011.

Online petition on disappearance of Billy Porlajee

Spain: Popular resistance against corruption and privatization delivers results

"Resisting is pointless," we hear endlessly repeated. "So many years of protest but the crisis continues, why bother?" insist others, inoculating us with apathy and resignation. "Protests could lead to something that's even worse," whispers the machinery of fear. They want us submissive, heads bowed. Dreams of change are forbidden. However, history rebels, indomitable. And it shows us, despite the naysayers, that struggle is worth it.
Announcement: if you live in Melbourne, please ensure that you attend the protests from 4.30pm to 7.30pm this coming Friday 14 February and Saturday 15 February to stop Premier Napthine destroying Melbourne's iconic Royal Park in order to build yet more tollways, further increase Melburnians' dependence on private motor transport and degrade the quality of life of elephants, giraffes, seals and other inhabitants of the nearby Melbourne Zoo.

Sunshine Coast not so sunny for native animals and people with a conscience

On the Sunshine Coast development has destroyed a great deal of the beautiful natural surroundings that attracted people there in the first place. Native animals are being cruelly decimated by starvation and exposure.

Developers seem animated by greed alone, machinally moonscaping lots when buyer uptake has dropped to 1996 levels[1] in Australia, despite constant mass immigration. The developer lobbies have not been able to restimulate demand, even by touting for overseas immigrants and selling property to foreign investors off the plan. (That doesn't stop them charging huge fees for membership.)

US Center for Public Integrity on Chromium VI in US drinking water and big business influence

WASHINGTON (March 13) – Tens of millions of Americans drink water contaminated with chromium (VI), a compound the Environmental Protection Agency was poised in 2011 to conclude likely causes cancer.

Friendly fascism, Corruption and the property lobby in Spain and Australia

Richard Laverack writes about the connections between the Spanish property development lobby and the shocking systemic corruption issues in Spain. There are many similarities between the Spanish and the Australian banking and property development lobbies and their relationships with government. The Ballieu Government's push for Westernport and a new "bubble" in Webb dock is based on the same philosophy of friendly fascism. So was the preceding Labor Government's. This article gives a short history of fascism and corruption in Spain before describing the current financial problems and their relationship with property and finance.

A Symbiosis Of Corruption And Ecological Destruction: Deforestation in Sarawak And Empire-Building In Ontario

Too often we fail to see the connection between the ecological destruction and cultural genocide of so-called "developing" nations and the lax immigration policies of those nations like Canada which play host to both the victims and the perpetrators of the tragedy. A look at the relationship between Sarawak's plight and the inflation of real estate values in Ontario, Canada and elsewhere should give us a better understanding of how plunder abroad promotes in-migration here. Canada, by offering an outlet to dirty money and the people who profit from it, must be seen as a willing accomplice and silent partner to a vast money-laundering operation.

Australian forests narrowly escape furnaces, no thanks to Oakeshott

"Oakeshott has been very vocal about the need to "challenge the power of money in politics" yet he seems to have been strongly influenced by the desperate native forest logging industry to support forest furnaces. We are very disappointed with his actions on this." (Prue Acton, Australian Forests and Climate Alliance.)

US: Fracking film-maker Josh Fox arrest and money behind US Science subcom on energy and environment

Last Wednesday, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox, was arrested after refusing requests from Republican committee members to leave a hearing on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." The hearing focused on a recent EPA report that suggested that hydraulic fracturing methods of extracting natural gas most likely caused contamination of drinking water in Wyoming. The filmmaker, a noted critic of hydraulic fracturing, was removed after Republican members of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee asked his camera crew to leave the hearing because they were not accredited. Mr. Fox refused to leave and was arrested for "unlawful entry."

Privatisation, Population, Oil, Food Security - Auditor-General Vic's plans 2011-12

Increasing private-public partnerships, contracting out, privatisation, creation of authorities 'outside government' etc over the past 20 years in Victoria "has led to a steady erosion of accountability to Parliament and the public, as these services and the public monies that fund them fall outside existing accountability frameworks and the mandate of this office." (Auditor General, Victoria) The forward plan also notes concerns about population growth, oil supplies and food security.

Why most natural disasters aren't natural at all

From the point of view of many humans, the term "natural disaster" is a convenient scapegoat because it allow a person (or a whole nation) to blame nature for their own poor planning. From Natural News. Originally republished on this site here amongst comments relating to the Queensland floods.

Royal Commission needed over developers' power and planning

Rapacious development in fast-growing Queensland magnified the horror of Australia's epic floods, experts said, with natural buffers paved over by concrete and new construction paying scant heed to environmental risks. Experts said the rapid development of Brisbane and surrounding areas had worsened the damage by replacing absorbent green corridors with cement, and by erecting new buildings on vulnerable sites.

See also: Forum discussion - Water policy after the flood, Crowded Flood-path: Lockyer-Valley, Wivenhoe Dam and Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 2011, Cost of Queensland floods made worse by government policy on land-use planning and population by Sheila Newman, Council rates system destroys urban rainforest and community in Brisbane by Geoffrey Taylor.

Supreme Court: Victory for Brown Mountain against VicForest loggers

Congratulations Jill Redwood, leader of Environment East Gippsland! In a landmark decision today, the Supreme Court has found that the government has a responsibility to look for and protect endangered wildlife before logging in the contentious Brown Mountain forests of East Gippsland. “This judgment has implications for all native forests that are set to be destroyed by logging,” said EEG spokesperson Jill Redwood. “If we hadn’t sued VicForests, Brown Mountain would have been illegally logged by now. And Brown Mountain is just one area. The government is logging publicly owned forests every day without endangered species surveys.” EEG Website for more updates

Building materials dive signals end of Oz property and population 'boom'

For those who follow the stock exchange, building materials share values are the key to the boom and bust cycle of Australian (and similar systems) property, infrastructure and construction booms. When building materials values go down we know that overall market demand decline has settled in. It means that the developers and engineers have reduced their forward orders for bricks and mortar. At the same time the States have been told to reduce their own little-known immigrant-sponsorship programs.

Schapelle to be sent to die in remote Java prison

Schapelle Corby was falsely convicted by the corrupt Indonesian judicial system for the ludicrous crime of having smuggled Marijuhana worth $35,000 in Australia to a country in which it would have been worth $5,000. Having been cynically abandoned by the successive Howard and Rudd Governments, she is now to be transferred away from the life-sustaining support she now receives from her sister Mercedes, a resident of Bali.to a prison in Java.

What you can do: Vote for Schapelle to be returned home to Australia in an online Women's Day poll. See also: freeschapelle.com.au and forum, Women for Schapelle on Facebook, A selective capacity for human compassion? of 24 Feb 10.

Madang landowners fight ecologically devastating Chinese mining invasion

Chinese government owned China Metallurgical Construction (MCC) corporation's efforts to establish the massively destructive Ramu Nickel mine in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea -- the largest investment in metal exploration and mining by the Chinese outside of China -- is in serious jeopardy. Local landowners are successfully initiating court cases and protests to demand mine tailings not be dumped into the sea -- poisoning fish stocks and causing extreme ecological destruction -- or the mine be stopped.

Article originally published as "Resistance Growing to Ecologically Devastating Chinese Mining Invasion of Madang, Papua New Guinea" on rainforestportal.org o 1 Apr 10. What you can do: e-mail China Metallurgical Construction Corporation to let them know of your objection to their invasion of Madang.

Community Concerns over Minister Gate-Crashing Inquiry (Melbourne Parliament)

When the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration hearing convened to hear from Peta Duke on 12 March 2010, she did not attend in answer to the summons. She had written the notorious Media Plan proposing a sham public consultation process to earn favour with the electorate. Mr Madden, who had not been summoned, sat in the chair reserved for the witness – his former Ministerial adviser - and said that he would answer questions. This was a blatant attempt to take over the inquiry being carried out by Parliament into his office’s conduct. - Protectors of Public Lands (Victoria)

Planning Minister Madden Panics Parliamentary Enquiry Committee: Hearing Abandoned

Hysteria in Victorian Parliament disrupts Hearing on Finance and Administration. Witness fails to appear, perhaps advised not to by Attorney General. Scandal surrounds the Victorian Department of Planning and the ability of Victorian Law to pursue the truth in Parliament. Report from several sources present at the events. Please submit your views to Parliament - see inside

Haiti: There's no such thing as a curse

A French writer, Louis Préfontaine, talks about the roles of the United States, Canada and France in propping up dictatorships, and of the United State's particular role in divesting Haitians of land and public institutions. See also "The U.S. Role in Haiti’s Food Riots: 30 Years Ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened?"

Why Queenslanders must demand new and fair state elections

In the March 2009 Queensland elections, called early and conveniently before the Auditor General's damning reports on Health and Transport, Labor clung to power by concealing the likely privatisation of publicly owned assets and promising to maintain the state fuel subsidy. Regaining office, the fuel subsidy went, charges for registration and public transport rocketed and a $15 billion public asset fire sale was announced - although opposed by 79% of the Queensland public

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This is not democracy. This is not honest. It is not even polite. Help create a ground-swell by signing the e-petition calling for a new election. Not sure? Read why in this article.

Originally published: 8 Jan 10. Updated and revised: 12 Jan 10.
See also: "Anti-privatisation candidate confronts Queensland Treasurer" of 2 Jan 09, Open letter to Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser asking that any planned privatisations be put to the public at forthcoming elections of 17 Feb 09.

Demand developers be banned from donating to political parties - template

Please sign and email the document inside, which calls for Victorian political parties to stop accepting donations from developers. Then send back to Planning Backlash, which will forward them to the Government and the media. Many have just typed their Group name at the and some have added their name as well. Whatever you do is fine. "John-Paul Langbroek and why the Liberal National Party won't survive unless Labor Governments reform"

John-Paul Langbroek and why the Liberal National Party won't survive unless Labor Governments reform

The Queensland Liberal National Party leader, John-Paul Langbroek tried to restore some democracy in Queensland last week. Perhaps it is because his party can see that if democracy is not restored - by restraining the pursuit of the ALP's private financial power through government - no other political party may ever have a chance to govern again, simply because the ALP has become so rich and its power so far-reaching, and arguably it is less a government than a commercial corporation. Langbroek's reforming initiatives have taken two forms: 1. to call for a referendum into privatisation and 2. to submit a bill to make inquiries into corrupt systems and specific activities in Queensland. Predictably this bill was killed by the ALP on the 2nd reading.
See also"Anti-privatisation e-petition calls on Queensland government to resign"

Bad Australian Foreign Investment Laws marginalise Australians

Real estate speculation occurs on previously unknown levels via the global Internet, with rapid convergence and mushrooming of of speculative industries and professions across government and private sector. At Federal level, the National Foreign Investment Review Board (NFIRB) promotes foreign investment in local real estate and encourages housing purchases by temporary immigrants for high turnover. Local realtors tout Australian property internationally, using private migration agents and local solicitors. At State level (where land use planning laws are made), organizations like the Property Council of Australia (PCA) are closely involved with determining government policy. The Australian citizen has less and less say in any of this.

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