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3 billion birds lost in America - same trends in Australia

This short documentary shows the problems that birds face in the US, but they face the same problems in Australia. The current push by powerful property developers, niched in our government, will remove more habitat for the birds where most of us live. Birds Australia's report, The State of Australia's Birds 2015, showed shorebirds in steep decline, and that our familiar friends, magpies, kookaburras, and willy-wagtails, are now struggling.

Video: Property off the plan - Residents' rights hijacked in an unregulated industry

This is the second in a series of interviews with Nerrida Pohl about lack of proper regulation of the construction and development industry in Australia. Nerrida talks about the 30 story appartment building in Victoria, where she bought two appartments 'off the plan'. The building is a shared commercial/private one, that is meant to share one plan, but Nerrida has discovered with some amazement that there are actually two different plans. Although the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) ruled, in a dispute between the developer and Stonington Council, that residents would share the building's loading bay with commercial occupants, this right was sold off by a member of the building management for $1.00 per annum peppercorn rent. This has meant that moving vans park at the front entrance, causing traffic problems in a very busy area. The front doors are propped open so that furniture etc can be brought into the building, creating a security risk. Furthermore, the ''Residents Meeting Room' specified in the plan, has been occupied by a real-estate agency. This means that residents have no formal or designated place to meet, communicate, and organise for their own benefit. It is especially hard because many appartment owners dwell overseas and cannot easily be contacted by other owners who, when they ask, are only given overseas mailing addresses, which might be PO boxes or legal firms in distant cities.

If Waleed Ali wants to be part of the solution, he cannot be part of the problem.

Waleed Aly ("A Rhetorical State of Emergency," Sydney Morning Herald, 12 September 2019,) has dressed up banality as insight and has been very long-winded about it. His focus is climate change and he laments the fact that we have so "engineered a lack of [political] consensus" that Australia is never likely to successfully address it.

MP Clifford Hayes supports residents against the North East Link

(Photos by Fiona Bell.) I have strongly supported the RUANELA (Residents United Against North East Link Option A) campaign against the North East Link. I am opposed to the removal of thousands of mature trees and the massive loss of open space particularly in the Koonung Creek Reserve. 12.7 hectares of parkland will be permanently lost.

Sydney shelters for homeless at capacity - but don't stop mass immigration

Lord Mayor Clover Moore has nothing to congratulate herself on with regard to homelessness in Sydney. The City of Sydney’s most recent street count has revealed that homelessness has risen and crisis shelters are at capacity. Although the City has been collecting levies from developers to create affordable housing since 2004, it has only created 835 new affordable housing dwellings in that time. Whilst the *official* number of homeless in Sydney reached 592 in August 2019 (with so many more couch-surfing and living on credit), Australia has continued to import approximately one million immigrants every two years, pushing up the price of housing and causing pressure on Sydney's very scarce land, to the extent that NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian asked the Federal Government to halve the immigration numbers - to no avail. Lendlease private developments is forcing new suburbs into koala territory despite years of organised protests from nearby residents. It is clear that property development is disorganising human communities, extinguishing wildlife, and over-riding every democratic measure in our society. It is ironic that the City of Sydney, in a country run by property developers for their own enrichment through population growth, should give the biggest private landowner in Australia (the Catholic Church) $100,000 to pay various humble workers to telephone between services looking for empty beds each night for the homeless. The same Catholic Church is a notable property developer, owner of the oldest bank in the world, and a chronic promoter of mass immigration.

IPAN says No to sending Australian military to Straits of Homuz

Australia shows contempt for an international rules-based order, agreeing to join the US and UK with a naval, air and ADF personel presence in the Persian Gulf without any national debate or UN resolution.

Letter to Geraldine Doogue re her incompetent treatment of the infrastructure problem

"Your program and so many on the ABC ignore the real prospect of widespread social, economic and environmental breakdown consequent on a human population having exceeded the long term carrying capacity of Nature. The ABC in its general coverage assumes a continuation of Business as Usual. Climate change, if present trends continue leads to a world 3 – 4 degrees warmer at century’s end. (David Attenborough in his recent TV program on climate change used the figures 3 - 6 degrees.) Together with declines in soil quality, water availability, food shortages and massive biodiversity loss these things have many scientists foreshadowing an imminent reduction in the global human population and a world in chaos."

Parliament ignored warning about population growth 10 years ago, to our detriment

Tomorrow it will be exactly 10 years since Kelvin Thomson spoke to the Parliament describing increasing population as the underlying cause of the world’s problems. He listed each of them - global warming, food crisis, water shortages, housing affordability, overcrowded cities, traffic congestion, species extinctions, fisheries collapse, increasing prices, waste, terrorism and war - and described the role that population growth was playing in fuelling them.

How apartment owners got hooked to pick up the massive bill for dodgy cladding

Victoria’s Planning Minister, Richard Wynne recently dropped a bombshell on thousands of apartment owners whose buildings are covered in flammable cladding.New loan laws likely to be passed by Parliament have been billed as a kindly gesture to help owners of apartments covered in the flammable cladding to fund the rectification costs. This news might seem a worthy initiative, except that the most iniquitous elements in this scandalous swindle are unspecified. Principally, Wynne’s decree provides that owners who bear no blame for this combustible catastrophe are to be burdened with a debt that could run into billions of dollars. [Article first published at https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/innovation/materials/apartment-owners-dodgy-cladding/ on 13 September 2018.]

The Endless Growth Paradigm

Script by Mark Allen of Population, Permaculture and Planning and Michael Bayliss of Sustainable Population Australia.

One giant leap for mankind - but since? - Article by Kelvin Thomson

It has been great to re-live the Apollo 11 Moon Landing’s 50 th Anniversary. What a monumental achievement and tribute to human intellectual candlepower, endeavour and above all courage. I was a Year 9 student at the time; like other classes we downed tools to watch it unfold. Our teachers were just as astonished by the audacity and precision of the Landing as we were. I – and I think most of the people who I talked with or heard from at that time – had a very rosy view of the future. Yes we were involved in a stupid war in Vietnam, but I thought the Second World War and the Holocaust were so wicked and so evil that we’d learned from that, and that there was a very strong worldwide appetite for peace. I thought that war and conflict would become a thing of the past.

Birdwatchers highlight declines of seabirds off south-eastern Australia

Thirteen species of seabirds are declining off the coast of south-eastern Australia, a 17-year study by researchers at the Centre for Ecosystem Science at UNSW Sydney revealed. The species include iconic and globally threatened birds such as the enormous Wandering Albatross, as well as locally breeding Flesh-footed Shearwater. Pelagic citizen science data was used in this study.

Was Pontius Pilate right after all? The modern state and Julian Assange

Pontius Pilate, of course, was the judge who condemned Jesus Christ to death, according to the bible. The crime Jesus was punished for was that of leading a religion critical of the values of the Roman state. Modern authorities try to defend their right to have criminal secrets in order to justify pursecuting Assange, who has led a world-wide movement for transparent and just government. If UK or Swedish judges deliver Assange to authorities who then deliver him to the United States, they may claim that they are only doing their duty under the law, just like Judge Pontius Pilate. I am not religious, but I think this is a valuable parable for our time.

Australia’s skilled migrant visa sham - Article by Leith van Onselen

Australian employer groups frequently claim that a strong ‘skilled’ migration program is required to overcome perceived labour shortages – a view that is shared by Australia’s state and federal governments. However, the available data does not support their assertions.

Authorities removing legal protection from nature reserves: study

An https://science.sciencemag.org/content/364/6443/881international study has revealed extensive removal of legal protection for conservation reserves, at a time when the preservation of these areas is more important than ever to biodiversity. The study, published today in Science, involving a global consortium of researchers led by Conservation International, documents how governments from 73 countries, including Australia, have removed more than 500,000 km2 from protected areas and downgraded protection for an additional 1.65 million km2 to allow greater human impacts.

So you tell me, where are we going, Australia? Conspiracy or accident?

There is an accepted truism that when it comes to politics what appears to be a conspiracy is usually just the result of poor government decisions. It is a logical conclusion given that conspiracies require clever conspirators and politicians are generally not seen as being clever. This of course is not correct, its a belief acquired because politicians are continually criticized by the media and even more so by their colleagues.

Like or loath him John Howard was a smart politician – he did after all survive 10 years as PM and won an election after involving us in an illegal war in Iraq. Having said that, how many bad decisions can be made on one issue before we have to conclude that no government could be that incompetent without intent?

Starving, wounded, dying Brumbies: Barmah and Singleton: Parks Vic & RSPCA responsibility

These photographs are of horses at Barmah Vic, and Singleton NSW. As we are aware, they are not native to this country. They were introduced here by pioneers/settlers to help settle this land. They were carted off to war - 300,000 - never to return. They ploughed the fields and transported goods/settlers all over this country. They are used in entertainment, such as rodeos and racing, and even left to die in paddocks. At the end for many are the knackeries, some for overseas human consumption. Horses are not even recognised as “livestock” in Acts of parliament. What a bum deal these magnificent animals have endured from mankind. Now they are being slaughtered by this government, in the name of being ‘feral’ and destroying the land. (Photographs copyright Renee Neubaur. Sincere thanks from Candobetter for permission to use them.)

How will the candidate seeking your vote act to prevent the US plans to kidnap Julian Assange?

As found by the Australian Federal Police in 2010, Julian Assange has committed no crime. Yet, Julian Assange, the courageous and visionary founding editor of Wikileaks, who is not even a citizen of the United States and has never been there, now faces the threat that he will be extradited to the United States from Britain. There he is to supposedly be tried only for the 'crime' of 'conspiring' in 2010, with Chelsea Manning to have her retrieve classified U.S. defence department information which revealed to the world evidence of U.S. war crimes. - the sort of 'crime' that many serious journalists have engaged in.

(Earlier version of) Policies that should be put to voters at the forthcoming Australian Federal elections

The article below is a copy of the earlier, more original version. That earlier version is to be substantially modified. The layout will be somewhat changed. Some content will be added and some of the original content will be modified. That updated version will be at the same location, previously pointed to by other links. It will include a link back to this page. That article, in turn, had been adapted from "Policies that should be put to voters at the Australian Federal elections of 2 July" (5/6/2016).

In the forthcoming Australian Federal elections to be held on 11, 18 or 25 May, the choice of candidates should include candidates who support policies that would attempt to preserve and, where possible, improve our quality of life. Such a candidate, if elected, would begin trying to rectify the harm that has been done in recent years to global peace and stability, our natural environment, civil rights and our quality of life, by corporations, NGOs and governments - federal, state and local. We believe such a candidate would support the policies listed below. We intend to ask each candidate standing for each House of Representatives seat and for each of the 12 Senate seats for each state, whether he/she supports, or is opposed to each of the policies. Particularly defining the decency of any Australian Government now is Policy 53: Julian Assange: Send a contingent of Federal Police to fly to London, go to the Ecuadorian embassy and escort Julian Assange back to Heathrow Airport and thence back to Melbourne Airport. What British government authority would dare obstruct Australian Federal Police who are clearly acting to uphold the law and to end such a cruel denial of basic human rights?

Anti-Dad review of family law - Senator Spender statement

Senator Duncan Spender of the Liberal Democrats has criticised the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Review of the Family Law System. “The Review is anti-Dad,” Senator Spender stated.
“Many Dad’s who have lost custody of their children might think that the family law system could not get any worse. Unfortunately they are wrong."

Immigration, population growth and voters: who cares, and why? - Article by Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell

Previous research has shown a wide split between elite and non-elite opinion on topics such as cultural diversity, globalisation and immigration. Media professionals and most politicians share these elite views, but large swathes of the electorate do not. The current findings of the survey conducted late in 2018 by The Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRI) on attitudes to immigration and population growth confirm this. They show that the split between elite and non-elite opinion is mirrored in the divisions between voters who are university graduates and voters who are not. This is logical as most elites are now recruited from the graduate class. The gap is wide. Overall 50% of voters want a reduction in immigration. But this proportion rises to 60% of non-graduates while only 33% of graduates agree. (The October/November 2018 TAPRI survey Katharine Betts and Bob Birrell.)

Dogged researchers show dingoes keep feral cats in check

Dingoes play a key role in the conservation of Australian outback ecosystems by suppressing feral cat populations, a UNSW Sydney study has found. A UNSW Sydney study has ended an argument about whether or not dingoes have an effect on feral cat populations in the outback, finding that the wild dogs do indeed keep the wild cat numbers down.

Policies that should be put to voters at the forthcoming Australian Federal elections

In the Australian Federal elections to be held on 18 May, the choice of candidates should include candidates who are resolved, should they win, to do their utmost to rectify the serious threats to the very survival of Australia and the rest of humanity. The most critical of these threats is the threat of nuclear war. Regardless of who is held to be most at fault - Russia, China or the United States - any parliamentarian, worthy of holding office, would use his/her influence to try to remove this threat. Neither the Liberal/National government nor the Labor 'opposition' are doing so, nor, as far as we can tell, are the Greens, One Nation nor any other sitting member of Parliament.

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison: Please use the powers vested in you to end Julian Assange's cruel ordeal


Dear Prime Minister Scott Morrison,

I write to ask you to act to bring to an end circumstances faced by Julian Assange which certainly have already harmed his health and may well end his life if those circumstances are not rectified soon.

An investigation by the Australian Federal Police into Julian Assange ordered by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2010, found that he had committed no crime. In spite of that, he was threatened with extradition to the United States to face, in its rigged court system - as attested to by former CIA officer John Kiriakou, amongst others - charges that the United States is not even prepared to reveal to the public! Julian Assange, who is not even a United States' citizen, could face many years of imprisonment - or worse - for merely having made known, through Wikileaks, information that the public should know about world events of recent years.

You can help make the Australian Government act to free Julian Assange

On Friday 5 April 2019, as revealed by John Pilger on Twitter from a high level source within the Ecuadorian Government, Julian Assange would shortly be expelled from the London Ecuadorian Embassy. Once evicted, he stands to be arrested by the UK police, extradited to the United States where he faces a secret trial based on a secret indictment. He may face many years behind bars - even the death penalty can't be excluded - all for just publishing, through Wikleaks, facts about world events that the public would be entitled to know in a fair and just world.

It is still possible to make the Australian government act to prevent the illegal extradition of Julian Assange to the U.S. and, instead, bring him home to Australia. Should they fail to act, they must be held to account at the forthcoming federal elections.

See also: Be Ready To Act: WikiLeaks Source Says They’re Coming For Assange (5/4/19) by Caitlin Johnstone, The Gestapo Is Coming for Julian Assange (4/4/19) by Paul Craig Roberts.

Lib candidate David Leyonhjelm opposes koala national park denies declining populations

Lib Candidate David Leyonhjelm says Northern NSW koalas are not endangered by logging. Animal lawyer, Angela Pollard, says, "Logging density has doubled, with an extra 140,000 ha of coastal forests targeted for clear-felling. She adds that the previous protections on retaining mature trees have also been removed, and this impacts most severely on the koalas’ main source of food tree. The new logging rules also remove the requirement to check for koalas in the canopy before a tree is felled."

Is immigration into Australia about to surge? Article by Leith van Onselen

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released visitor arrivals and departures data for the month of January, which posted record annual permanent and long-term arrivals.

In the year to January 2019, there were 835,310 permanent and long-term arrivals into Australia – up 6% from January 2018 and an all-time high. This was partly offset by 546,310 permanent and long-term departures from Australia:

Australian burden of disease for brain disorders almost twice global figure - New Report

Mindgardens Neuroscience Network (Mindgardens) has commissioned a white paper on the burden of disease and cost of brain disorders in AustraliaThe burden of all brain disorders in Australia accounted for 20.5 per cent of disability-adjusted life years, nearly twice the global figure of 11.1 per cent illustrating the scale of the health care challenge. The white paper reports the disease burden associated with neurological, mental health and substance use disorders is in excess of $74 billion. Between 2010 and 2017 substance misuse (drugs, alcohol) grew at 24.7 per cent, followed by neurological disorders at 15.6 per cent and mental health disorders by 8.6 per cent.

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