Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) Today the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) tabled a special report in Parliament highlighting improper conduct by former Victorian Government Minister Theo Theophanous in his role on the board of the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA). [Candobetter comment: Note that the VPA is is a major decisi
"To date, I understand that 2,268 jurisdictions in 39 countries have declared a climate emergency. It is the one issue about which there is widespread global consensus. It presents a common threat to all countries and no country can isolate itself from it. However, to effectively tackle climate change, there must be an equal focus on population growth and the disastrous effect it is having on the earth's natural environment. To date, there is little evidence of governments doing that.
"Now that you are Prime Minister, we urge you to waste no time in making good on your wish to see Julian Assange’s ordeal come to an end, as the issue is now beyond critical, with his current health status meaning time is of the essence. It is now much too late for legal remedies.
The Victorian Government’s master planning document, Plan Melbourne— which drives high density development throughout our suburbs—assumes continuing rapid population growth over the next decade. The coronavirus pandemic, and the Federal response to it, means this assumption has been overtaken by events, and that Plan Melbourne is out of date. The Morrison Government expects a fall of up to 300,000 people moving to Australia over the next 2 years. The Federal Government expects net overseas migration to fall by 30% in the current financial year, and to crash by 85% in 2020-21 to around 40,000.
Some of the drivers of this fall are outside Australia’s control, such as lockdowns in other countries and a collapse in international air travel. However the Federal Labor Opposition has also signalled a reduction in migration, calling for Australia’s immigration to be overhauled and curtailed in the wake of the pandemic. Opposition
spokesperson, Senator Keneally, has written,
“Do we want migrants to return to Australia in the same numbers and in the same composition as before the crisis? The answer is no”.
Against this background, the Victorian Government needs to quickly reassess Plan Melbourne—which makes high rise and high density housing a planning priority at the cost of any other considerations. Otherwise we risk being caught living in the past. It is likely that businesses that have developed a dependence on rapid population growth will struggle, and the Victorian Government needs to plan for this.
It would also be wrong for the Government to continue to impose rules enforcing denser populations on communities that don’t want them. Plan Melbourne has been a vehicle for Councils to be told they have to accommodate “their share” of Melbourne’s population growth. The Government should revisit its population projections, and not be caught out by a potentially fast changing population landscape.
It certainly should not continue to impose high-rise coronavirus traps, forcing people to live on top of each other, on unwilling communities.
The evidence around the world is clear –a dense population is a vulnerable one. The Victorian Government needs to understand that the game has changed, and move with the times.
Planning Backlash writes: We have an urgent matter in Frankston as Cr Hampton is putting up a Notice of Motion (NOM) at next Tuesday's meeting on 28 January 2020 to reverse Council's decision on the Frankston Green Wedge Management Plan of 14 October 2019 to allow instead industrial expansion in the Green Wedge as well as subdivisions for residential use. See happy outcome here.
Cr Colin Hampton has a NOM at next Tuesday's council meeting in Frankston to reverse the decision on 14 October 2019 on Frankston's Green Wedge Management Plan.
It's a very lengthy NOM which includes allowing expansion of the industrial area into the Frankston's Green Wedge and allowing that ‘areas of land suitable only for grazing agricultural activities in Precinct 2 ... be better utilised for purposes other than agriculture – e.g. for employment or residential uses’.
The lengthy NOM 8 is in next Tuesday's Agenda for OM 1, 2020, Item 14.5, at:
Here is the start of the Notice of Motion:
14.5 2020/NOM8 - Green Wedge Management Plan
On 15 January 2020 Councillor Colin Hampton gave notice of his intention to move the following motion:
1. The authority to write to the Minister for Planning about amending the Frankston
Planning Scheme to include the Frankston Green Wedge Management Plan is
2. Council does not proceed with implementing its Resolution of 14 October 2019
concerning the Frankston Green Wedge Management Plan.
I hope readers will express their opposition as a matter of urgency by sending emails to this effect to Frankston councillors at:
An alarmist headline? Not really. This judgement follows from an analysis of Labor’s proposed temporary visa for parents of existing migrants, entitled, a ‘Fairer Long stay parent visa for Australia’s migrant and multicultural communities’. The proposal was announced on 22 April, 2019.
Labor’s proposal is for an uncapped, low cost, temporary parent visa open to all migrant families who are citizens or are permanent residents. It will cost $2,500 for five years regardless of sponsors’ income or capacity to provide for their parents. All four parents in each household can be sponsored. The children eligible to sponsor their parents include all those who are permanent residents or citizens of Australia.
The visa will be renewable thus enabling parents to stay in Australia for ten years without having to leave. This means it is a de facto permanent entry visa since, as sponsors will know, it is highly unlikely that parents who have lived here for a decade will be required to return home.
Labor’s ‘temporary’ parent visa is an unprecedented offer. No other western country provides any similar parent visa. The trend across Western Europe is to tighten already stringent rules on parents’ access to obtain permanent residence status. The US, though it allows adult migrant children to sponsor their parents, has many hurdles, including that the sponsor must be a citizen and must meet financial capacity guidelines. Even Canada, the most overtly welcoming migration country in the west, has an annual cap of 17,000 on parent visas and, as with the US, sponsors must prove that they can meet stringent financial capacity criteria.
As we will see, Labor’s parent proposal dismantles all the careful rules successive Australian governments have, over thirty years, put in place to control parent migration. The door is now wide open for parent sponsorship. This is an especially attractive prospect of Australia’s more recently arrived Asian and Middle-Eastern communities. And here it should be noted that Australia’s Asian- born population (at just over 10 per cent) is higher than any other western country.
Australia is an enticing destination to migrants from Asia because of the large gulf between the political, social and cultural conditions here and in most Asia countries. Given that many immigrants would welcome in-house help with child care and that most Asians recognise obligations to care for their parents, the potential for Australia’s Asian and Middle-Eastern population to take up Labor’s offer is huge.
At present most permanent entry parent visas are from China, mainly because there is a balance of family rule in place. This requires that half or more of siblings are resident in Australia. Many readers will be aware that there is a waiting list of Chinese applicants for Australia’s existing permanent entry parent visa of near 100,000. They will likely take up Labor’s proposed temporary parent visa. However, many more Chinese will also become eligible. (These are people who don’t meet the present financial criteria for sponsorship, which are outlined below.)
The really big change in eligibility will come from Australia’s Indian subcontinent and Middle Eastern communities. They constitute a larger group of potential sponsors than the Chinese. Most do not currently meet the balance-of-family test or the financial requirements of the existing permanent entry parent visa.
Labor’s proposal will make then eligible to bring their parents to Australia. They will have at least as powerful a motive to avail themselves of this opportunity as the Chinese.
Labor’s proposal could easily generate at least 200,000 parent applications, mainly from Chinese, Indian subcontinent and Middle Eastern country residents of Australia, over a three-year period.
The number depends, of course, on how the visa is implemented. This is explored below. The information we have at this point on Labor’s proposal is that it will be open-ended.
To grasp the significance of Labor’s proposal it needs to be seen in the context of Australia’s present rules governing the issuance of permanent entry parent visas. There are two subclasses for parent visas in operation. One is a contributory parent visa where the parents have to pay some $43,600 as an upfront contribution to the likely public costs of their stay. In 2017-18 6,015 of these visas were issued. By June 2018 there was a backlog of applicants of 44,886. The other entry point is a non- contributory parent visa with much lower up-front fees. In 2017-18 1,356 of these visas were issued. For this non-contributory visa there was a backlog of 50,642 and a wait time of over thirty years.
In effect, together the current permanent-entry parent visas are capped at less than 8,000 a year.
Moreover, both permanent-entry parent visa subclasses are only available to pension-aged parents who can meet the balance of family test. This is why most of the parents visaed are from China – since most Chinese residents are from one, or at the most, two sibling families.
However, there is another parent visa option, soon to be available for those wishing to sponsor their parents. This is a temporary parent visa which the Coalition legislated in November 2018. Residents can apply from 17 April 2019 to establish their eligibility as sponsors of their parents.
There is an annual cap of 15,000 parents and accompanying dependent for this new visa. It is for five years, and will cost $10,000. There is a limit of one set of parents for each sponsoring household. To qualify as a sponsor, the Australian resident family’s annual taxable income must exceed $83,000. [Candobetter net Editor: Reference in full paper, see end of this article.]
The visa can be renewed, once, for another stay of up to five years, but the parents need to leave Australia before applying for this renewal.
There was no official statement of the likely number of applications at the time. However internal departmental sources indicate that the 15,000 annual quota is likely to be filled.
Labor’s temporary parent visa proposal was announced in response to the Coalition’s temporary- parent-visa legislation. In response to lobbying from migrant communities, the Coalition promised prior to the 2016 election that it would establish a new temporary visa for parents. As is evident, it took some time for the proposal to be legislated.
When the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, announced Labor’s proposed visa on 22 April 2019, he declared that the Coalition’s temporary parent visa option was ‘heartless, callous and cruel’. It was claimed that the Coalition’s visa was far stricter than originally promised, thus justifying Labor’s much more generous alternative.
As indicated, Labor’s initiative potentially opens the flood gates for parent migration. It appears to be a reckless and irresponsible policy bid put forward to garner migrant votes.
Did the Labor leaders consider the possible implications? It is doubtful that they did.
This article was based on the summary and background sections of the full paper by Dr Bob Birrell published by The Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRI) in May 2019. Read more at https://tapri.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/final-draft-parent-visa-May-2019.pdf.
"Strong population growth is boosting aggregate demand and therefore the growth rate of the economy. But measures of per capita outcomes are more sobering and suggest that not enough emphasis is being placed on them in the policy debate. A brief look at income per capita, dwelling prices to income, infrastructure spend per capita and traffic congestion points to the need for a comprehensive and open discussion around the policy direction Australia is taking. ... The pressures of very high immigration are contributing to social, environmental and economic stress in Australia. There appears to be a tri-party (coalition, Labor and Greens) agreement to keep this off the agenda, despite high levels of public concern."
[The following is based on a letter sent to Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen and Senator Penny Wong]
Why is Labor still pushing the ‘Big Australia’ barrow – as evidenced by recent speeches by Chris Bowen at the Crescent Institute in September 2016 and Senator Penny Wong at the National Press Club on 8 November?
For most of this century, Australia has had the second highest population growth rate in the OECD and 2.5 times the OECD average. Since 2003, our population has grown by a massive 22 percent. Official forecasts show Sydney with a population of 6.4 million in 2036 (growth of 87,000 per year), and Melbourne with 8 million in 2036 (growth of 97,000 per year). (for data source, see Leith van Onselen, Who will rise up to become Australia’s Trump? (paywall))
This overheated population growth is putting massive pressures on infrastructure and housing affordability. The continuing urban sprawl is trashing wildlife habitat and scarce agricultural land.
Permanent immigration, as well as an unprecedented amount of 457 and student visas, is having a detrimental effect on wage rates, particularly for lower skilled and lower income workers. Why is Labor endorsing this?
The real national disposable income per capita of Australians is in decline, thanks in large part to this population growth. May I draw your attention to the conclusion in the recent research note by Gareth Aird of the Commonwealth Bank:
Strong population growth is boosting aggregate demand and therefore the growth rate of the economy. But measures of per capita outcomes are more sobering and suggest that not enough emphasis is being placed on them in the policy debate. A brief look at income per capita, dwelling prices to income, infrastructure spend per capita and traffic congestion points to the need for a comprehensive and open discussion around the policy direction Australia is taking.
May I also draw your attention to the conclusion of the recent research note by Leith van Onselen of Macrobusiness:
In short, the broad macroeconomic data – both domestic and international – does not support the assertion that Australia needs to run a high immigration program in order to drive the economy and increase living standards. In fact, given the significant qualitative costs – for example, the degradation of the environment, the depreciation of natural resources and decline in individuals’ quality of life – there is significant cause to dial Australia’s immigration program right back.
Recently Senator Wong cited the recent Productivity Commission report on Migrant Intake Into Australia, and its modelling which showed a $7000 increment to per capita GDP in 2060, when comparing a business-as-usual immigration scenario to a zero net overseas migration (NOM) scenario. In actuality, the Commission bends over backwards to explain in its report that the $7000 figure is not a net benefit. One must also look at the costs of immigration and assess the overall net benefits for the community as a whole. For example the Commission says:
GDP per person is a weak measure of the overall wellbeing of the Australian community and does not capture how gains would be distributed among the community. Whether a particular rate of immigration will deliver an overall benefit to the existing Australian community will crucially depend on the distribution of the gains and the interrelated social and environmental impacts.
I am not sure whether Senator Wong simply misunderstands the Commission’s findings, or whether this is wilful misuse of data for a particular agenda. May I suggest that Senator Wong carefully read pages 15 to 17 of the Overview, to appreciate the nuance of the Commission’s findings.
The pressures of very high immigration are contributing to social, environmental and economic stress in Australia. There appears to be a tri-party (coalition, Labor and Greens) agreement to keep this off the agenda, despite high levels of public concern. According the Productivity Commission report:
Despite majority support for immigration, almost two thirds of survey respondents expressed strong preferences for keeping the population below 30 million over the next 40 years, which with current rates of immigration could be reached by around 2030. While the reasons given by survey respondents for preferring a lower population size differ between sub-groups, congestion and environmental impacts featured for all sub-groups. (p. 362)
Actually, the Commission may be correct that there is majority support for immigration in principle, but there is definitely not majority public support for the very high levels of immigration we have seen this century. A recent survey for SBS found that 59% of Australians surveyed believed that “the level of immigration into Australia over the last ten years has been too high”. This is backed up by a recent (5 October 2016) Essential poll that found that 50% think that the level of immigration into Australia over the last ten years has been too high, 28% think it has been about right and 12% think it has been too low. And for Labor voters, it was 43% think that the level of immigration into Australia over the last ten years has been too high, 30% think it has been about right and 16% think it has been too low.
As the Productivity Commission has acknowledged, Australia’s immigration policy is our de facto population policy. Recent events elsewhere (eg Brexit, Trump) suggest there is rising public concern about the pressures caused by growing population and high levels of immigration. If the major parties in Australia maintain their consensus for a Big Australia, contrary to the clear wishes of the majority, where will voters go? One Nation?
I ask again, why is Labor pushing for a Big Australia?
This article was first published on Peter Cook's personal blog at http://www.peakdecisions.org/2016/11/labor-pushing-big-australia
The Age newspaper, owned by Fairfax Media limited, reported on 4 September that Roger Corbett, 4 chairman of Fairfax Media said that Julia Gillard should have remained Prime Minister in preference to the "discredited" Kevin Rudd.
Mr Corbett said, "His colleagues sacked [Kevin Rudd] because they judged him to be incapable as Prime Minister."
The article continued:
'Referring to the damaging cabinet leaks that so badly derailed Ms Gillard's 2010 election campaign, Mr Corbett said: "[Mr Rudd], it's alleged, was active against the government during the elections. May be true, may not be.
'"I think that had a terrible effect upon Labor."
'The leaks led to a collapse in Labor's vote, which led to a hung parliament and forced Labor to enter into coalition with the Greens to form power. The Labor-Greens alliance has been a "very limiting factor" in the past three years, Mr Corbett said.
'And while this was going on, Mr Rudd himself had "destabilised" the Gillard government behind the scenes.'
Mr Corbett also praised Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. "[Mr Abbott's] a very sincere, nice type of human being, and I think he'll be very dedicated, focused in the job," he said.
Tony Abbott, whom Roger Corbett considers "a very sincere, nice type of human being", with less three days before polling begins and 10 hours before the pre-election media news blackout began at midnight on Wednesday, had still not released the costings for his policies, #fnSubj1" id="txtSubj1">1 plans to sack 7,000 Federal public servants. He also plans to give approval to the horrifically destructive East West Link project. #fnSubj2" id="txtSubj2">2
Candobetter and a number of other credible commentators can only agree with Roger Corbett's praise for Julia Gillard (if not with his praise for Tony Abbott).
June 2013: The now 'discredited' Kevin Rudd ousts Julia Gillard in Age-orchestrated putsch
But didn't the same Fairfax Age newspaper of 22 June 2013, editorialise "For the sake of the nation, Ms Gillard should stand aside"? :
"It is time for Julia Gillard to stand aside as leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party, as Prime Minister of Australia, so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again. Ms Gillard should do so in the interests of the Labor Party, in the interests of the nation and, most importantly, in the interests of democracy. The Age's overriding concern is that, under Ms Gillard's leadership, the Labor Party's message about its future policies and vision for Australia is not getting through to the electorate. Our fear is that if there is no change in Labor leadership before the September 14 election, voters will be denied a proper contest of ideas and policies - and that would be a travesty for the democratic process.
"The Age does not advocate this lightly. We do so with all respect to Ms Gillard, ..."
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Holden, who wrote the editorial, also appeared in a short broadcast video (2:33) on the same page. He made the curious claim, with no supporting evidence. that it is necessary for Julia Gillard to stand aside "so that vigorous, policy-driven democratic debate can flourish once again."
Evidently, Andrew Holden does not wish for the debate to embrace the support given by Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr and the Age newspaper to the United States' proxy terrorist war against Syria, which has cost, according to one estimate reported #fnSubj3" id="txtSubj3">3 in the Age, 100,000 Syrian lives since March 2011.
Why the Age newspaper itself could not have enabled the debate it claimed to have wanted, without meddling in the internal politics of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Caucus, was not explained.
The above argument was repeated in different guises:
"... [We are saying] Ms Gillard should stand aside ... because she has been unable to lift the party out of a desperately difficult political position. ...
"A big majority of the electorate appears to have stopped listening to Ms Gillard. Voters have been so distracted by internal and external speculation about Labor's leadership that efforts by the Prime Minister and her ministers to enunciate a narrative, a strategic vision, for the nation's future beyond this year have failed. ..."
Much of the editorial, in contrast to the self-fulfilling prophetic value judgements above, provided compelling reasons why Gillard should have remained Prime Minister and not been cast aside for Kevin Rudd :
'We ... [recognise] that in the three years she has occupied the office of Prime Minister - most of it under the vexing circumstances of a hung Parliament - Labor has implemented landmark reforms ...
'The polls in mid-2010 had indicated Labor was in danger of losing an election under Mr Rudd, and inside the party there was concern about his increasingly autocratic style. Ms Gillard said she challenged "because I believed that a good government was losing its way … I love this country, and I was not going to sit idly by and watch an incoming opposition cut education, cut health and smash rights at work". ...'
As Age Editor-in-chief Andrew Holden had demanded, Julia Gillard was subsequently ousted on 26 June and replaced by Kevin Rudd, but the promised improvement in Labor's approval rating never eventuated.
Age readers still to be given explanation
The Age is entitled to change its views, and is even entitled to promote views which may, through the course of events, prove to be mistaken. However, the public is entitled to be informed that what Roger Corbett said less than 3 days before the forthcoming Federal election is contrary to what the Age said on 22 June and why.
Unless this explanation is forthcoming, voters are entitled to assume that Roger Corbett's statements, ostensibly in support of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, so late in the election campaign, are no more than a ploy to harm Labor's electoral prospects.
#update_5sep13" id="update_5sep13">Update, 8:36AM, Thur 5 Sep: Hockey to give costings today
The Age reports, "Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey will unveil the Coalition's election costings on Thursday, leaving voters just hours to digest the numbers while also refusing to say when the budget would be back in the black under his management."
As noted in the Australian Financial Review :
"The timing of the Coalition's costings announcement comes after the electronic media blackout starting at midnight on Wednesday, which applies to all election campaigns. Labor will not be allowed to broadcast any television or radio commercials attacking cuts that may be contained in the documents." (emphasis added)
A poll in the Age article Hockey's 11th-hour costings asked "Should the Coalition have given voters more time to digest its costings?". The results of 5188 votes taken at 9:05AM were:
Not sure: 4%
#fnSubj1" id="fnSubj1">1. #txtSubj1">↑ The Herald Sun reported at 12:46PM on Wednesday, 4 September 2013, "The federal coalition is releasing its final policies on Wednesday (today) and will reveal its full costings 'very, very soon', Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says." Voters won't have sufficient time to digest the information and understand how it will affect them before they cast their vote on Saturday. (See also: #update_5sep13">Update of 9:10AM, Thursday 5 September, above.)
#fnSubj2" id="fnSubj2">2. #txtSubj2">↑ The construction of the East West Link would require the destruction of much of what remains of Melbourne's iconic Royal Park as well as many surrounding homes and will make Melbourne commuters even more dependent on private vehicles than they already are. It is not possible for the broader public to see the business case for the East West Link and compare it with the known business case for additional public transport because of "commercial in confidence" provisions in the East West Link contract.
#fnSubj3" id="fnSubj3">3. #txtSubj3">↑ As shown in Media Lies Used to Provide a Pretext for Another "Humanitarian War": Protest in Syria: Who Counts the Dead? of 25 Nov 2011 by Julie Lévesque in Global Research, the Western news media may have been exaggerating the number of dead for its own propaganda purposes. But, surely those opposed to war need to be able to accurately convey to the public, how many have been killed as a result of the support provided to the terrorists by Western nations? Nowhere on Global research could I find this figure. It certainly was not included in Professor Michel Chossudovsy's otherwise excellent Online interactive I-book Syria: NATO's Next "Humanitarian" War? of 11 Feb 2012. Given that death toll of the Iraq wars since 1990 is certainly at least many hundreds of thousands and, according to one estimate could be a many as 3,300,000, including 750,000 children, the figure of 100,000 dead may not be such a great exaggeration, after all. Certainly should Barack Obama and John Kerry achieve their goals, the eventual death toll will be much higher than 100,000.
May 5th 2010 - St Kilda and South Melbourne ALP Branches present POPULATE AND/OR PERISH: Are our migration numbers right or wrong?
A debate and discussion with Michael Danby MP, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports VERSUS Kelvin Thomson MP, Federal Member for Wills, Chair of the joint Standing Committee on Treaties (Non-ALP members may sign in as guests and attend.)
Wednesday May 5, 2010
Cora Graves Centre
38 Blessington Street ST. KILDA
Saint Kilda and South Melbourne ALP Branches present POPULATE AND/OR PERISH: Are our migration numbers right or wrong.
A debate and discussion with
Michael Danby MP
Federal Member for Melbourne Ports
Kelvin Thomson MP
Federal Member for Wills
Chair of the joint Standing Committee on Treaties
Yes, its the event that had to happen: a debate on population between two senior Labor Figures
who have featured heavily in the media in recent years with opposing opinions on this important topic.
Come along and see DANBY and THOMSON slog it out, ask them questions, grapple with this enormous policy question
Non-ALP members may sign in as guests
The debate that has been organised is an ALP event, that will be taking place at one of the local branch meetings in Melbourne Ports. Standing orders for the meeting will be suspended to allow for the debate to proceed.
ALP members have been formally invited from the Melbourne Ports Electorate and surrounding electorates. Any non members who are interested in attending need to understand they will be signing in as guests at an ALP branch meeting.
I have been putting off finishing a long and detailed article about why the Labor Party's business interests and the policies of Labor Governments in Australia are cause for disquiet. No, more than this, they give cause to question the right to govern of our governments. The area is so big and scary that one would rather read a novel or stare out the window. How to open up a description of the way I see our situation escaped me.
Tonight, however, I wrote this short article in reply to Peter Bright's comment, "Be fair; The Prime Minister has to overview the whole picture in the national interest, long term as well as short term. Although a Green, I believe that he and his government are being unfairly criticised and insultingly abused with insufficient cause."
Well, Peter was talking about whales, and so was Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, but he was really talking about politics and economics and that's what I am talking about here.
The White Whale
The PM is forcing population growth on Australians and thereby depriving them of secure and affordable futures through driving resource scarcity. We have not been consulted. Not unrelated is the fact that he and Wayne Swann were also involved in the initial creation of Labor Holdings P/L and Labor Resources P/L see "Expert discusses 'deliberately confusing' Labor donations" in Queensland (when they were working for Wayne Goss in the opposition). These ALP-owned companies helped build up massive property holdings and insurance and development investments for the ALP.
Governments or Commercial Corporations?
The ALP governments, state and Federal, now resemble huge commercial corporations, far richer than the other parties in Australia and richer than many others in the world, according to Steven Mayne. Labor Holdings and Labor Resources are used by the ALP to hold donations and other payments so that those moneys will not have to be declared as ALP donations from their original sources; they are declared as donations or 'other receipts' from Labor Holdings or Labor Resources. You can, however, look up income tax declarations for Labor Holdings and Labor Resources here and see where their income comes from. Then, in the same site, you can look for the ALP's income tax declarations and see where the money goes to.
State Laws made for private profit against democratic objection
State governments control land-use in Australia. One must suspect that the laws that the State Parliaments make to privilege property development (e.g. Major Transports Facilitation Bill; DACS) also privilege the ALP's investments or those of their friends. The ruthless pushing of laws to override democratic objections is an indication of where the state and Federal governments' loyalty really lies.
The growing presence of property lobby professionals in government and as the major options in elections should raise alarm bells. See, for instance, the participation of candidates from or backed by the Property Council of Australia in elections here and here.
Federal Government immigration and financial policy
The Federal Government's pushing of population growth through high immigration is a way of keeping property and infrastructure development going (at great cost to the rest of us) - and that seems to be a major business of Labor Party investments in Queensland where Labor Resources and Labor Holdings started, although they go way beyond that state now.
The Federal Government's nearly successful attempts to finance private development through taxpayer funding in RuddBank is another indicator of the sick state of our parliaments.
Labor: In government or in business?
The relationship between the Labor Party's friends in private Lobby Groups, their people in government, and the staff in State investment companies (such as Queensland Investment Company) has been the subject of damning journalistic investigations. See, for instance: "In the murky world of lobbying ..." and It is now so blurry that I think you would have to be naive or not to have been aware of these vested interests to believe that our governments were in government rather than in business for themselves. But maybe it is hard for most people to figure out what this all means unless they already know the picture in the jigsaw.
Governments or Commercial Corporations?
What I make of all this is that our governments have crossed over the line between being governments into the area of being commercial corporations. And my next question is: Have they abdicated their right to govern since they no longer represent the electorate?
I think they have. I don't think that we have representative government in Australia anywhere anymore. Even under the Westminster system our governments are supposed to be seen to represent the public. Such representation is easily fudged around the edges on issues where cost and benefits are hard to pin down, but that is not the case here. It has become obvious that governments at state and federal level routinely benefit private corporate interests over the objections and interests of constituents by making laws to remove virtually all democratic rights to control the size of population, the ownership of public assets, and the extent of infrastructure expansion - whilst financing these undemocratic investments with taxpayers' money.
See also: other articles about Labor Holdings
Originally published: 8 Jan 10. Updated and revised: 12 Jan 10.
#EliteImposition" id="EliteImposition">How Australian "democracy" imposes "elite as opposed to popular views"
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.
The citizens of most other Australian states are treated little better. So, in early 2010, Australians are not in any meaningful sense ruled by "government of the people by the people for the people."
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke actually boasted about his similar failure to democratically consult during a speech at a Bureau of Immigration Research conference, when he claimed that he had enforced "elite as opposed to popular views on immigration."#main-fn1">1
as opposed to popular views" on immigration,
privatisation, financial deregulation and other
Over the last 3 decades at least, "elite as opposed to popular views" have been imposed in regard to many other important policy decisions. Examples of such unconsultative policies implemented include the removal of tariff barriers to prevent the export of Australian jobs to slave wage economies; the removal of barriers which prevented foreign companies from buying our mineral wealth; the removal of barriers to foreign investors being able to buy up Australian real estate; the deregulation of our finance sector; the privatisation of our retirement income on a model similar to the one enacted by the Chilean military junta in the 1970's,#main-fn3">3 the privatisation of government-owned businesses including Telstra, QANTAS and the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories; and the corporatisation or privatisation of vital resources: water and power utilities, and of infrastructure normally owned and paid for by taxpayers, such as roads and public transport.
There have also been numerous disposals of public parkland, such as 20 hectare Royal Park in Melbourne, and the massive rezoning to urban of "Green Wedges" (environmentally beneficial low-impact rural and publicly accessible bush and recreational land).#main-fn4">4
We have also lost publicly owned state banks, insurance companies, and local, state and national services, including road-making, land-development, public housing construction, the prison system and monopolies on marketing agricultural product - such as in the privatisation of the wheat board.#main-fn5">5 The public is the poorer.
We have also seen the imposition of the National Competition Policy on all levels of Government, the forcible amalgamation of local governments, the removal of the rights of local governments (and therefore of residents and citizens) to oppose local housing and other developments,#main-fn6">6 the imposition of costly environmentally destructive projects against the wishes of the local communities, the destruction of farmland and bushland to allow the construction of mines, the threatened imposition of a Chinese-style Internet firewall, etc., etc.
Who can argue that these changes have not diminished our democracy?
#ElectiveTyranny" id="ElectiveTyranny">An elective tyranny
Nicholas Aroney, one of the authors of "Restraining Elective Dictatorship: The upper house solution?" (2008) describes our system, as the title of his book implies, as elective dictatorship#main-fn7">7 A more accurate term in 2009 would, perhaps, be elective tyranny.
Amongst the latest examples of the enforcement of "elite as opposed to popular views" is, as mentioned at the start of this article, the Queensland State Government's plan to sell off $15 billion of assets: coal railway lines and the newly built Abbot Point coal loader; ports, tollways and state forests. This fire sale is on top of the already considerable number of publicly owned assets that the ALP dominated Queensland parliament has already allowed to be sold off since first winning office in 1998. This latest "fire sale" has been opposed by between 79% and 84% of Queenslanders according to the Courier-Mail's Galaxy poll.#main-fn8">8
The newsmedia still insist that this system that allows our Governments, as a matter of course, to thus "impose elite as opposed to popular views" is democracy.
Because every three or four years, voters are given a the right to vote out a Government that the majority has judged to have served them poorly and vote in another they hope will do a better job.
There are a number of problems with this.
By the time voters remove a government, much irreversible harm may already have been done.
Many policies, even if made against the will of the people, will have been locked-in by contracts that typically are difficult or impossible to cancel. For instance, while they were successively in opposition, the NSW Liberal and Labor parties both promised to cancel tollway-construction contracts that governments of the day entered from the late 1980s onwards. Upon winning office however, the new Liberal or Labor government would invariably announce that the financial penalties so-incurred would make breaking the contract impossible.
It is even harder to reverse privatisations, environmental destruction or population increases.
Even at election times, Governments are rarely held to account by the newsmedia.
The snap elections of Queensland in March 2009 were a glaring example. Between them, the Labor Party and the media#main-fn9">9 literally cheated the Queensland people out of having any say about privatisation at those elections. Having feared this and prepared for it by presenting as a candidate myself, I provided abundant evidence, to the media and to the ABC in particular, that privatisation was a major issue in those elections. Despite my repeated efforts documenting this, the media in question persistently, refused to seriously question the Government on the issue. As a consequence, the Labor Government was returned to office without once having been required to state clearly what its intentions in regard to privatisation were or to justify them.
The power for an incumbent Government to choose the time of the election can also help it to evade scrutiny. For instance, if the Queensland elections had been held after the publication of the Auditor General's damning reports on Queensland's health#main-fn10">10 and transport systems#main-fn11">11
, the Labor Party probably could not have been re-elected.
Alternative candidates not backed by corporate funding are unable to present their views to the public.
Even though polls taken during the 2009 elections showed that 59% of electors opposed Labor and 59% opposed the Liberal National Party#main-fn12">12, the newsmedia refused to give air-time to alternative candidates so that the public could learn of their existence before they got to the ballot box and decide ahead whether or not they deserved their vote.
Consequently, most voters would have seen no choice except to vote for the lesser of two evils promoted by the media almost as the only two on offer, rather than candidates who, finding Tweedledee and Tweedledum wanting, stood for different policies.
So, even at elections, the rare occasion upon which the public has any opportunity to have any say over the direction of their country, in our mainstream media-captive elections, the mainstream media does not provide the public with a real opportunity to make a properly informed choice. It fails to make public, or to adequately promote, all the available choices.
You would be right to call the media 'anti-choice'.
#BetweenElections" id="BetweenElections">Decisions between elections
Between elections, the situation becomes immeasurably worse as Governments assume the right to do anything that comes into their heads, which may benefit party investments or may be put to them by corporate lobbyists. Often they act behind closed doors, refusing to answer questions, claiming protection through "in confidence" agreements,
Yes, government decisions don't just fall out of the sky. They are discussed and agreed to behind closed doors by corporate elites and the political parties' negotiators, then they are conveyed to the parliamentary delegates to enact.
For instance, from former Labor Government member Cate Molloy, we know#main-fn13">13 that the disastrous and unpopular local government amalgamations enacted in 2007 by Premier Beattie and the then Minister for local Government, Andrew Fraser, and forced upon the people of Queensland, were made at the behest of the Property Council of Australia (PCA). The PCA behaved as if it considered the popular Noosa Shire Council and Douglas Shire Councils, and probably others, as impediments to its plans.
#CostOfLiving" id="CostOfLiving">The cost of losing democratic control is already measurable in our environment, quality of life and cost of living
In 2009, as a result of many years of what our anti-choice media continues to call 'democracy', the quality of life of Queenslanders has eroded enormously, whilst the cost of living in terms of housing, food, council rates, water charges, electricity charges, vehicle registration charges, public transport charges, traffic infringement fines, etc. has gone through the roof and is heading towards the stratosphere. Indeed we have no idea where, when, or if ever it will stop. For instance, the Courier Mail story "Monster power price hike" of Friday 18 Dec 09 reports:
The Queensland Competition Authority has just announced a draft decision that would see prices rise by 13.83 per cent between 2009-10 and 2010-11.
The decision would add an additional $276 to the average annual household bill of $2000.
It is the fourth successive jump in electricity costs since the State Government claimed deregulation of the industry would put downward pressure on prices.#main-fn14">14
Thus in 2009, the heavy price already paid by Queenslanders for former Premier Peter Beattie's decision - similarly made without their consent - to privatise the retail arm of the state owned electricity utility, continues to climb.
Meanwhile, the Queensland Government seems barely constrained by the breaking of its explicit election-promise to retain the fuel subsidy or the failure to materialise of the 100,000 new jobs it promised at election-time to create.
As with the 2006 privatisation, Queenslanders are today being assured that the fire sale will be for the best. A significant number of respected economists dispute this, however. Among these dissenters are Professor John Quiggin and Professor Bob Walker. Both have written detailed studies which dispute the case for privatisation. Thus far, Andrew Fraser and the Queensland Government have not responded in any written detail to their suggestions.
But why should the people of Queensland have to wait over two more years to remove the Government from office? Why should they be expected to watch passively as a wave of privatisations sets in concrete along with other policies that will further degrade their quality of life and destroy their children's future?
#AssertingCitizensRights" id="AssertingCitizensRights">How can citizens assert their right to self-government?
Governments that have betrayed the trust of the public as the Queensland Government has done do not deserve to remain in office. Citizens must somehow establish their constitutional right to force such governments to face new elections.
We, the people, believe the State of NSW is being neglected. The State government has failed to adequately address the crisis in hospitals, public transport, education and housing supply. Continuing factional warfare has paralysed the government. We should not have to wait until March 2011 to exercise our democratic right. To stop this happening again we need a mechanism to call an early election. By supporting this petition, we are calling for a change to the constitution to enable this to happen. We demand a referendum on this at the next State election.
I support the right of the people of NSW to call an early election.
The reasoning in support of this petition seems somewhat flawed. Although the petition calls for a structural change which would improve democratic rights, its reasons are quite undemocratic, for example, the petition's complaint of "Continuing factional warfare has paralysed the government." The article in support of the petition further complains:
The failure to privatise the power industry - an attempt undermined by Labor's union allies - has kept the budget on the edge of crisis.
Taken together, these words essentially parrot the stance of the NSW corporate media including the SMH and the ABC in favour of the privatisation that the Iemma state Labor Government attempted to undemocratically impose, without any electoral mandate, against the wishes of between 79% and 86% of the NSW public and against those of the Labor Party itself.
Whilst the factions in the NSW Labor Party are generally little better than fiefdoms to serve the political aspirations of Labor politicians, Labor apparatchiks and Union officials, at the expense of ordinary Labor Party members, union members and the broader NSW public, there is actually nothing inherently wrong with factions. A faction can also be a vehicle for disaffected rank and file members to regain control of a corrupted organisation. At the least it may provide the means to assert the will of the rank and file on an issue such as privatisation. In the fight against privatisation in 2008, the dominant right wing faction of the Labor Party stood for democracy and the people of NSW against the dominant clique in the NSW Parliamentary Labor Party and the NSW corporate sector. Whatever can be rightly said against that faction, they deserve credit for having taken that stance and not to have been pilloried#main-fn16">16 for that.
If there is anything worse than factional in-fighting, it would be the uncritical conformity and discipline that Premier Morris Iemma attempted somewhat unsuccessfully to inculcate in Labor MPs who were resolved to vote against privatisation in 2008.
Such an implicit condemnation in principle of a sometimes necessary vehicle in democracy should not be found within a petition calling for democratic reform.
It seems likely that media moguls think that they would be able to persuade the public to vote out governments which fail to do what the corporate sector and its media-mouthpiece demand.#main-fn17">17 We should keep this in mind, whilst remembering that the media already run Australia's political show, so we still will gain by increasing our power through election referenda.
The petition therefore deserves the enthusiastic support of NSW residents despite its corporate baggage.
#e-petition" id="e-petition">Your support for on-line petition, calling for resignation of Queensland Government and new elections, needed
In Queensland, I have set up a Queensland Parliamentary e-petition, on the e-petition page, sponsored by Independent Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Dorothy Pratt. This petition takes a more direct approach than the NSW one and simply calls for the government to resign and for new elections. It does not also address the constitutional question that the SMH petition addresses. This is partly due to the 250 word-limit rule on both petition and preamble. Future petitions might address the question of citizens' referenda separately.
Meanwhile here are the words of the petition calling for the resignation of the Queensland government:
TO: The Honourable Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
Queensland citizens draws to the attention of the House the Queensland public, the rightful owners of $15 billion worth of assets which are to be sold, were denied any say over this because of the failure of the Queensland government to reveal those plans during the course of the elections. We consider the stated intention of the government to proceed with the sale in the face of opinion polls, which show at least 80% public opposition, to be amongst the most serious breaches of public trust imaginable.
Your petitioners, therefore, request the House to call upon the Queensland Government to resign immediately to give the Queensland public a chance to elect a new Government which can gain its trust. Your petitioners also warn any private investors considering buying the assets, not to do so and call upon a future State government which does enjoy the trust and confidence of the Queensland people not to honour any such contracts for the sale of assets.
#WhatCanE-petitionAchieve" id="WhatCanE-petitionAchieve">What can this petition hope to achieve?
Queenslanders were outraged at the announcement of the $15 billion fire sale and the breaking of an explicit promise to retain the state fuel subsidy. The government responded to this by claiming that it had sought and received a mandate to take whatever tough measures it deemed necessary to get Queensland through the Global Financial Crisis. As put by Treasurer Andrew Fraser to me during the course of an interview on Sunday 29 November, 2009:
Well, as I said really clearly during the election campaign ... there were going to be tough choices that we had to face, and we've had to face those.#main-fn18">18
Andrew Fraser's apparent interpretation that, by voting the government back in, Queenslanders were giving it a blank cheque to flog off their assets came as a shock to many Queenslanders, 72% of whom in a Courier Mail Galaxy poll said they believed that the Labor Party had lied about its privatisation intentions.#main-fn19">19
The simple fact is that the Queensland Government would not even be in office today if it had given to the Queensland public any hint that an asset fire sale was a possibility,#main-fn20">20 or if it had not promised to retain the state fuel subsidy.#main-fn21">21
As such, the people of Queensland are entitled to view the Government itself as illegitimate and should say so at every possible opportunity, such as the one which this petition provides.
If this petition were to be supported by large numbers of Queensland citizens it could be a powerful demonstration that of their rejection of Bligh's and Fraser's implied rationale for proceeding with the fire sale in defiance of their clear wishes. It would be a clear message that it is wrong for the Queensland government to pretend that they somehow know better what is good for Queenslanders than Queenslanders do. It would show that Queensland voters expect to be asked about hard decisions and to have a full range of options considered, contrary to the implication that, deep down a childlike public wants the Government to proceed in an authoritarian way.
If the many Queenslanders enraged by this Government's high handed arrogance become aware of this petition, there should be no reason why it would not attract at least as much support as any other petition thus far, at the bare minimum. Whilst it is difficult to be able to predict just how many will eventually sign, the order of at least 100,000 signatures should be achievable.
To make this happen, a lot of people will need to sign the petition themselves and to make efforts to contact other people who they know are likely to want to sign.
Those in a position to help make this happen include:
- Independent members of the Queensland Legislative Assembly (MLA's)
- Liberal National Party MLA's
- Local Government Councillors
- Trade Unionists
- The Greens Party
- Other political parties such as the New Australia Party, the Democratic Labor Party, Australia First, etc.
- Environmental organisations
- Grass roots community groups fighting environmentally destructive infrastructure or mining such as the Save the Mary River Coalition, the Stop the Hale Street Bridge Group, Friends of Felton.
- Scientists and other public servants fighting to save their jobs from this Government's short sighted budgetary cutbacks.#main-fn22">22
Of course even if every voter in Queensland, who is not a member of the State Parliamentary Labor caucus, were to sign this petition, no constitutional requirement exists as yet to make the Government carry out the petition's request.
History has shown, however, that it is difficult for any Government to continue to act in defiance of an effective grass-roots political movement such as that which could emerge from this campaign if backed by the weight of massive public opinion.
#LaborPartyMembers" id="LaborPartyMembers">Why Labor Party members and trade unionists should sign the petition
Whilst Labor party members and trade unionists are as disgusted as the rest of Queensland with the fire sale, some are, nevertheless, unwilling to do anything that might entail the removal of the Bligh Government from office. They feel this way in spite of the large hoardings all over Queensland denouncing the Labor Government's betrayal of working people.
This reluctance is partly understandable for a number of reasons. The memory of the Federal Howard Government, the record of some extremely reactionary Liberal National coalition governments in other states holds them back. They may also not be altogether convinced that the LNP, in Government, would reverse privatisation.
They should still ask themselves: What possible good can come from the perpetuation of the misrule of the Bligh Government? They need to ask: When only two Labor Parliamentarians voted against privatisation inside Parliamentary caucus, where they are entitled to freely express their views and vote whichever way they choose, in early June, what possible good can come out of such a caucus? Yes, only two Labor caucus members voted against privatisation#main-fn23">23 even though the Government had no electoral mandate whatsoever for privatisation, 84% of Queenslanders opposed it, and it was against the Labor Party's own platform.
Again I ask, what good is such a caucus?
If the government manages somehow to scrape back into power in 2012, it will almost certainly claim to have been vindicated and feel emboldened to do even worse. What then will be safe in Queensland?
If the government is thrown out, despite continuing Labor Party member and trade union support, those supporters are likely to be seriously scapegoated (through savage industrial legislation and discriminatory electorate funding) just as the incoming Howard Government was able to scapegoat and victimise much of Labor's constituency upon winning office in 1996. This is likely to happen because they will be seen to have supported a rotten and unpopular government, through blind obedience or a pathetic desire to retain eroding positions of government influence.#main-fn24">24
Because of the cowardice of the majority of delegates at the Queen's Birthday weekend Labor Party conference, who voted to support privatisation,#main-fn25">25 formal Labor Party avenues to rectify the situation have now been closed off. Other practical alternatives need now to be found.
#WhatRisks" id="WhatRisks">What are the risks?
If the elections to be held were fair, unlike those of March 2009, in which the ABC and the corporate media deliberately censored news of alternatives to the major candidates, there is every chance that the new Parliament would contain a large number of Independents, Greens and representatives from other minor parties, who would be able to wield considerable influence.
An outcome which also seems possible is a Parliament in which the Liberal National Party might comprise an outright majority.
It can't be be known for certain whether such a government would not turn out to be in the mould of an extreme, "Shock Doctrine" style government similar, for example, to that of Jeff Kennett's, which ruled Victoria from 1992 until 1999, rather than one merely governing in the public interest within the constraints of its electoral mandate.
#CounteringRisks" id="CounteringRisks">How can the risks be mitigated?
Even if the worst fears were realised, the precedent established by the removal of the Labor Government would be every bit as applicable to an LNP Government, the moment it was seen to have exceeded its electoral mandate.
Whatever the outcome, the known risks for Queenslanders in meekly acquiescing to the dictatorial misrule of the Bligh Government are greater than the risks of the unknown, as I have argued above.
In all likelihood, removal of the despised Government of Premier Anna Bligh would be the first step on the road to politicians becoming, once again, the servants of ordinary people, instead of the other way around.
Further steps along that road, would include making a change to the constitution to formally incorporate the right of citizens to recall unsatisfactory elected representatives, as is now being sought in NSW (see above) and the enactment of laws that enshrined the right of ordinary citizens, upon demonstrating a threshold of support in the community for a proposal for a legislative change, to initiate a binding referendum. These measures would comprise strong safeguards against politicians ever being able to abuse their office in the way that the Queensland Government is doing today.
A grass-roots political movement (perhaps not altogether dissimilar to that which let to the formation of the original Australian Labor Party in the 1890's, before it become so thoroughly corrupted by the influence the wealthy corporate benefactors and, more recently, private party investments#main-fn26">26) could help propel that process forward.
#WhatYouCanDo" id="WhatYouCanDo">What you can do
If you are Queensland citizen, please sign this petition yourself without delay. The sooner you sign it, the more others will feel encouraged also to sign. It will be active until 2 March 2010.
If you are a New South Wales citizen, please sign this petition. It is important that you do so, without delay as the close-of day has not been specified. It appears to have been set up on or before 11 Dec 09. When signing, please be mindful of the unfortunate anti-democratic baggage contained in it, as discussed #AssertingCitizensRights">above.
Tell others about the petition and urge them to sign. Please send e-mails containing this article or links to this article and a link to the petitions.
Publish this article on your web site, or post links to this article and to the online petitions.
Post links to the article and the online petitions to mailing lists and to online forums.
Write letters to the paper in support of this petition.
Phone radio talkback shows to announce this petition.
Post your own thoughts about these petitions, whether wholly supportive or critical.
See also: Murdoch media contradicts itself on immigration of 18 Feb 09
#main-fn1" id="main-fn1">1. #main-fn1-txt">↑ Cited in Overloading Australia (2009) by Mark O'Connor and William Lines, p186. Cited earlier in This Tired Brown Land (1998), p179. From "This Tired Brown Land":
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke boasted at the Bureau of Immigration Research's National Outlook Conference in Brisbane in 1993 that his government had enforced "elite as opposed to popular views on immigration." By "elite" he did not mean "expert", for, as explained in a previous chapter, he had ignored advice not only from the Australian Academy of Science and CSIRO, but also from the government's two main sources of economic advice, Treasury and EPAC. By 'elite' he was referring to the bipartisan political support for high-immigration that existed in Australia throughout the 1980s and much of the 1990s, supported by large sections of the media -- especially by most of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation -- and by most of the public service and the most tertiary teachers.
#main-fn2" id="main-fn2">2. ↑ See, for instance: "Review of ABC 7.30 Report on Australia's steeply rising population" of 13 Oct 09, "Bernard Salt on the Population 'debate'" of 10 Oct 09, "Concerns about the Age, the Australian and the ABC censoring population debate" of 14 Dec 09, "Growing population calls for big picture focus" - Democracy, immigration and the politics of the Age Newspaper" of 12 Feb 09.
A major 'reform' imposed on Chile on the advice of the 'Chicago Boys' was the privatisation of public pensions, which was replaced by privatised superannuation (adopted in Australia in 1986, proposed by President George W. Bush in 2004 and rejected by a Republican-controlled Congress).
#main-fn6" id="main-fn6">6. #main-fn6-txt">↑ See "Bligh Government tramples on community rights to impose over-development" of 11 Jun 08.
#main-fn8" id="main-fn8">8. #main-fn8-txt">↑ At least three polls of public opinion have been taken by the Courier-Mail's Galaxy Poll. The first two both showed 84% opposition. The first poll was reported in the Courier-Mail story "Voters believe Bligh lied before election" of 19 Jun 09. A subsequent poll reported in "Queensland anger over Anna Bligh's asset sale on the wane" of 3 Dec 09 showed that this opposition had dropped by 5% top a still overwhelming 79%. I wrote of this in my article "Courier Mail spins news of 79% opposition to fire sale to reveal its privatisation colours" of 11 Dec 09.
#main-fn9" id="main-fn9">9. #main-fn9-txt">↑ The LNP's record was also questionable as I reported in my articles "Independent candidate seeks categorical assurance against privatisation" of 11 Mar 09 and "Media release: Lawrence Springborg out of step with the public on privatisation" of 20 Mar 09.
However, since the elections, the LNP under its new leader John-Paul Langbroek have consistently argued against privatisation. However, the fact that one of their stated reasons for opposing the fire sale is that they don't think that assets should be sold when the market is depressed could leave the door open for that policy to be changed in future. Conversely, the fact that a Courier-Mail article in December or November by Paul Williams exhorted John-Paul Langbroek to abandon his naive 'idealism' is a clue that it is by no means assured that the LNP will reverse its current stance against privatisation. Moreover they appear to be vastly more responsive to the will of their constituencies, who are opposed to privatisation, than are the Labor Party MLA's. On at least one occasion that was barely reported in the media, John Paul-Langbroek called upon the Government to put the question of privatisation to the people of Queensland.
#main-fn10" id="main-fn10">10. #main-fn10-txt">↑ See "Auditor questions hospitals' patient flow system" by Petrina Berry in the Brisbane Times of 29 Jul 09. Download report (PDF, 647K) and executive summary (PDF 310K) from http://www.qao.qld.gov.au/pages/publications/pub_ag.html.
#main-fn11" id="main-fn11">11. #main-fn11-txt">↑ See "South-East Queensland transport planning in disarray" by Daniel Hurst and Tony Moore in the Brisbane Times of 23 Jun 09. Download report (PDF, 534K) and executive summary (PDF 285K) from http://www.qao.qld.gov.au/pages/publications/pub_ag.html.
#main-fn12" id="main-fn12">12. #main-fn12-txt">↑ The first Galaxy poll was reported very early in the campaign, whilst the second was reported on the 20th March, the day before, the election from my recollection.
#main-fn13" id="main-fn13">13. #main-fn13-txt">↑ "Cate Molloy : Forced council amalgamations planned by Property Council of Australia" of 7 Sep 07.
#main-fn15" id="main-fn15">15. #main-fn15-txt">↑ The petition is at http://polls.smh.com.au/index.php?sid=36127&lang=en. The article in support of the petition is "It's time the people of NSW were heard" in the SMH of 11 Dec 09.
#main-fn16" id="main-fn16">16. #main-fn16-txt">↑ The Four Corners program "Off the Rails", whilst providing a useful account of the mismanagement of the public transport system by the NSW Labor Government, inexplicably and falsely blamed that on its decision not to privatise the publicly owned electricity generating assets. This is explicitly stated in the promotion for that program:
When talking with Labor insiders, Wendy discovers that this latest project is simply the end game in a bitter battle waged over the past ten years between Labor's MPs and the union dominated party machine.
In that decade two Premiers, who wanted to sell public assets to provide decent public transport, have been sacrificed so that union leaders could protect their members' jobs and their own political power. Meanwhile, major tracts of Sydney's west go without adequate public transport.
Another example of the ABC parroting the corporate media view on privatisation is described in the story "ABC gives free kick to Iemma, NSW electricity privatisation" of 21 Jul 08.
#main-fn17" id="main-fn17">17. #main-fn17-txt">↑ One famous attempt to use recall provisions to oust Governments which are genuinely acting in the interests of the people and not corporations is the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to recall Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez. One successful recall attempt which appeared to have been inspired by corporate interests, in this case Enron, was the Californian recall election of 2003, which removed sitting Governor Gray Davis and allowed Arnold Schwarzenegger to come to office. In spite of these examples, the right to recall still seems far more likely to strengthen the hands of ordinary citizens against corporations that the reverse.
#main-fn18" id="main-fn18">18. #main-fn18-txt">↑ "Anti-privatisation candidate confronts Queensland Treasurer" (updated) of 2 Jan 09.
#main-fn19" id="main-fn19">19. #main-fn19-txt">↑ "Voters believe Bligh lied before election" in the Courier-Mail of 19 Jun 09. I initially wrote 66%. This is the figure I used in the interview with Andrew Fraser, referred to in #main-fn18">(18). The Courier-Mail article, which refers to the Galaxy Poll, says 72%.
#main-fn20" id="main-fn20">20. #main-fn20-txt">↑ As mentioned above, it was not clear during the course of the election campaign that the LNP was opposed to privatisation. However, in the unlikely event that the LNP as well as Labor explicitly endorsed privatisation, voters would have flocked to the Greens and Independents. On top of that there would have been a huge outcry against privatisation from much of the LNP's own rural base of support, who are at least as much opposed to privatisation as ordinary Labor supporters. The very best that Labor could have hoped for in these circumstances would have been to able to form a minority Government dependent upon the votes of a large number of Greens and Independent MPs. Had the LNP opposed privatisation there would have been a landslide against Labor.
#main-fn21" id="main-fn21">21. #main-fn21-txt">↑ In fact, in the light of looming petroleum depletion, a case can be made for abolishing fuel subsidies, in order to encourage business and private individuals to limit the rate at which they consume petroleum in their day to day activities. The Queensland Government has not made this case, however. Instead it has committed public funding to costly, impractical and unsustainable infrastructure that will increase both population and car dependency. However, whatever the reasons for the scrapping of the subsidy were, they should have been put during the course of the elections.
#main-fn22" id="main-fn22">22. #main-fn22-txt">↑ An example is the 40 workers at the Leslie Research Centre whose jobs were axed in December. After years of running down its once world-leading agricultural research facilities, the Government of the "Smart State" decided just before Christmas to close down the Leslie Research Centre in Toowoomba, together with irreplaceable staff with many years training and experience. Stories about this include: "Primary industries staff won't be sacked: minister" in the Brisbane Times of 21 Dec 09, "Aussie ag 'losing edge'" by Peter Hunter in the the Weekly Times Now of 30 Dec 09, "Foundation cries foul over sale" in the Toowoomba Chronicle of 1 Oct 09.
#main-fn23" id="main-fn23">23. #main-fn23-txt">↑ "Only two Labor MPs -- Jo-Ann Miller and Evan Moorhead -- are believed to have voted against the plan,..." from "Premier defies angry backlash over assets sale" in the Courier-Mail of 2 Jun 09.
#main-fn24" id="main-fn24">24. #main-fn24-txt">↑ A lot of letters and online comments against privatisation, in fact, proffer the solution of savagely cutting back on employment in the public service. A number have expressed disgust at the refusal of Trade Unions claiming opposition to privatisation yet failing to seriously oppose the Bligh Government on this matter.
#main-fn25" id="main-fn25">25. #main-fn25-txt">↑ "Delegates give green light to push ahead with $15b sale" in the Courier-Mail of 7 Jun 09, "ALP conference gives Bligh an ovation" in the Age of 7 Jun 09, "Electricians split from Labor left over asset sell-off" in the Brisbane Times of 10 Jun 09, "Documents are real eye-openers" in the Gladstone Observer of 21 Jul 09.
At the conference 44 delegates from unions claiming to be opposed to privatisation abstained from the critical vote. If those 44 votes had been added to the 156 votes against privatisation, the vote would still have been 207 to 200 in favour of privatisation. However, the abovementioned story in the Gladstone Observer reports that three delegates from the Gladstone branch, which was opposed to privatisation, voted for privatisation on the floor of the conference. If they had voted against privatisation, the majority would only have been 204 to 203.
How many other votes that made up the pro-privatisation majority would have similarly been cast by delegates against the wishes of branch members?
In any case, if the vote had truly represented the views of unionists and rank and file Labor Party members supposedly represented by the delegates, the vote would have been overwhelmingly against. As an example, it seems inconceivable that a majority of members of the Australian Workers Union, which voted as a bloc for privatisation, would have been in favour of privatisation.
#main-fn26" id="main-fn26">26. #main-fn26-txt">↑ See "John-Paul Langbroek and why the Liberal National Party won't survive unless Labor Governments reform" of 4 Dec 09.
James Sinnamon debates Andrew Fraser on Privatisation and government encouragement of overpopulation in Queensland, proposing alternatives - Film. Filmed on Sunday, 30 November. Lasts 21 minutes. In three films on You-tube - links inside this article. 2nd & 3rd film of most interest. Please pass round to your Queensland contacts, but, since privatisation is coming up in other States again - notably in Victoria - this should interest people outside Queensland. See film inside
See also: "Courier Mail spins news of 79% opposition to fire sale to reveal its privatisation colours" of 11 Dec 09, "Queensland Rail workers strike against theft of public assets" of 9 Dec 09, "Brisbane ABC suppresses alternative candidates in state elections despite listener dismay with major parties" of 30 Apr 09, "Media contempt for facts in NSW electricity privatisation debate" of 28 Sep 08. Why I am contesting the Queensland Elections, E-petition to Qld Parliament,"Call for immediate resignation of the Queensland government and new elections," on grounds of not consulting public on privatisation.
Update: Letter of 31 July 09 to Andrew Fraser, included as Appendix 1 (12 Dec 09), Full transcript, Table of Contents, etc. added (2 Jan 10).
This article was orignally published on 4 Dec 09. It was subsequently updated with the letter to Andrew Fraser of 31 Jul 09 which propsed alternatives to privatisation on 11 Dec 09. The latest update of 2 Jan 10 includes the full transcript of the videos, together with comments, a table of contents, and other additions and changes.
On Sunday, 30 November, almost 4 months after I had e-mailed state Treasurer Andrew Fraser proposing alternatives to the $15 billion of asset sales (see #appendix1">Appendix 1), and 9 months after I had e-mailed both the Treasurer and the Premier requesting that they reveal to the public any plans for privatisation and justify them during the course of the elections, I was able to confront the state Treasurer during a 15 minute interview at the Community Cabinet. The following film, divided into three parts, is a record of that interview, which turned out to be quite a debate. The full transcript of the debate is included below as Appendix 2.
#GettingTheMost" id="GettingTheMost">Getting the most out of the film
#GettingTheMost">Getting the most out of the film
#part1">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 1
#part2">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 2
#part3">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 3
#history">History of this debate and information
about material mentioned within
#appendix1">Appendix 1 - Letter proposing alternatives to
#StateBank">1. Setting up a state bank
#borrowing">2. Borrowing the additional $14billion
#population">3. End Queensland economy's dependence
upon population growth
#UsefulJobs">4. Create jobs which meet the needs of
#transcript">Transcript of Sinnamon-Fraser debate
#transcript1">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 1
#transcript2">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 2
#transcript3">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 3
#DebateRequest">Appendix 3: Correspondence concerning my
request for a debate amongst candidates
contesting the Mount Coot-tha electorate
#request">E-mail requesting debate
#response">Andrew Fraser's response
You can access the three parts of the film on this page, but, most people will find the first part boring, unless they are looking for documentation of the lead-up to the debate. I suggest you go to #part2">Part 2 for arguments about alternatives to privatisation - notably on banking systems - and to #part2">Part 3 for arguments about why Queensland's population is growing irresistibly and whether that is a valid excuse for privatisation.
#part1" id="part1">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 1
The first part of the film consists of Andrew seeming to insist that we had debated together already and that he had answered my correspondence. I try to tell him that he responded to one email only - up until the invitation to meet him at the Community Cabinet - and that it was that response which confirmed my impression that, prior to winning the election, he was leaving privatisation of assets open; i.e. he was not excluding it. Andrew's answer to that is that the government did not know what its policy would be after the election. I maintain that it was well-known that population growth was costing the government money and that the government should have made clear to the public that there was a problem and that privatisation was not ruled out. Although it was the duty of the mainstream press to ferret this attitude out, it was also the duty of the government and the opposition to publicly discuss the problem of debt and the range of solutions ahead of the election. At one stage Andrew remarked that the whole world and the press were free to attend the small public question and answer session/meet the candidates affair that he describes as a debate we both attended. I reply that the press chose not to come. In other circumstances I might have emphasised 'chose'. Because, of course, my point is that the mainstream press have apparently colluded with the two party system to help them avoid publicly discussing the privatisation issue. See Privatisation and the Right to Govern, Part 1.
#part2" id="part2">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 2
Not only did I raise the privatisation issue, but I also raised alternatives to privatisation.
The main one I discussed was for the government to set up a state bank and guarantee its own loans, rather than to go looking for forms of private credit. My reference was a book by Ellen Brown, Web of Debt. This was the source of the system that I had asked Andrew or his department - Treasury in Queensland - to give me a written critique of. If what I proposed was wrong, then, fair enough. I was prepared to learn. But I received no answer from treasury and, in the debate, the treasurer tries twice inaccurately to insinuate that I am proposing to have no ceiling on debt, then simply accepts my proposal as another way of raising money and does not contradict my assertion that it would be a cheaper way. You will find this discussion in Part 2 of Privatisation and the Right to Govern.
#part3" id="part3">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 3
One of the alternatives to privatisation that I raised was for the government to stop encouraging population growth. Andrew gave what some tell me is the property developer shock-factor line on this - he insinuated that stopping population growth in Queensland would be akin to stopping Mexicans coming across the Southern Border of the U.S.. He used the term, "Checkpoint Charlie", and you will get the drift of some fantasy about uniformed guns patrolling the Tweed River. He also immediately pretends that I population growth reduction would inevitably include authoritarian controls over numbers of children per family in Australia. He was painting an extreme scenario, which could have had the effect of making me back down and away from the issue of population growth, but I didn't. At the stage we are at the only limits need to be on international immigration and construction permits.
On the issue of limiting interstate immigration, I should just have said to him that population growth is normally restrained locally by limiting the number of building permits issued. It is a normal function of town and country planning, and you would expect a state as planning-focused as Queensland, not to need to be told that. Restricting building permits goes hand in hand with the democracy of local government, where residents - i.e. members of a community - have the ultimate say over the density of settlement and how their environment is treated. They know best and they have to live there. So, no guns or patrols are necessary, just good old tried-and-true keeping building permits to a level that keeps the population stable.
Fraser said, rightly, that most population growth in Australia comes from overseas immigration, and he stated that the Federal Government is responsible for that. However I am well aware that the Queensland Government, like all the other state Governments in Australia, aggressively tries to attract immigrants to Queensland, from overseas and from interstate. Andrew denied that. The film editor, Sheila Newman, has inserted cuts from one of the Government's advertising films that urges immigrants to come and "Live, work and play" in Queensland. (This 50 Mb video is currently linked to from this Queensland Government videos web page, which is linked to from the Migrating from Overseas web page on the web site www.workliveplay.qld.gov.au.)
Australians should be very aware of how the Federal and the State governments- which are all aligned with the growth lobby - and even most local ones - have this agressive formula for putting people off discussing the problem they have created, and of how they will insist that it is not of their own making, even in the face of abundant evidence.
This is discussed in the last part of the YouTube video "Privatisation and the Right to Govern, Part 3," embedded below.
#history" id="history">History of this debate and information about material mentioned within
On 21 March 2009 the Queensland Labor Government was re-elected at the end of a snap early election campaign with little scrutiny by the newsmedia.
As an independent candidate, I tried, during the course of those elections, to hold the government to account for its past record of selling off publicly-owned assets without any electoral mandate. Since 1998, the Labor Government had sold off the state Government Insurance Office Government, airports, a lottery agency, the retail arm of the state owned electricity supplier, a coal loader and much public land.
I also asked for an assurance that the Queensland public would be informed of any further plans to sell off assets during the course of the elections.
On 17 February, even before the elections were announced, I e-mailed Premier Anna Bligh and Treasurer Andrew Fraser. My e-mail listed the assets sold since 1998, concluding:
"Given this history, it seems to me that the Queensland public have good reason to fear that, upon re-election, your Government may proceed to sell off yet more of their assets ...
"The reason I write this letter is to seek your assurance that if you do intend to privatise any of these assets that you state your intention to do so to the public before the forthcoming elections ..."
The letter was ignored, along with my subsequent correspondence.
My strenuous efforts to obtain air time, or, at least, to get the media to raise this issue were almost entirely ignored.
When the Queensland Government, barely two months after their re-election, announced plans to sell ports, a coal loader, the freight arm of Queensland Rail, commercial forests and toll roads, most Queenslanders felt outraged.
An opinon poll revealed that 84% of Queenslanders opposed the sale and 66% believed that the Government had intentionally misled them about privatisation during the elections.
The Queensland Government proceeded with its fire sale regardless.
On Friday 17 July, Andrew Fraser made the claim on the radio that no alternatives to privatisation had been put to him by anyone in state Parliament. This drove me to send him an e-mail (see #appendix1">Appendix 1) which proposed several alternatives. These were:
- #StateBank">Setting up a state owned bank to raise the necessary loans to fund infrastructure projects more cheaply than could be done with private loans.
- If the state owned bank is not to be created, then #borrowing">raise the commercial loans necessary to cover the shortfall, which would still have to be cheaper in the long term, anyway.
- #population">Cease encouragement of population growth, since Premier Anna Bligh said that asset sales were necessary to fund the cost of new infrastructure to service that population growth
- To Implement, at the state level, the comprehensive University of Newcastle #UsefulJobs">Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) program. This program is fully costed, Australia-wide, at $9 billion per annum and would provide gainful employment to all the unemployed to meet the current needs of existing Australians, This would be a vastly cheaper alternative to the environmentally destructive infrastructure and housing construction juggernaut.
Andrew Fraser ignored this e-mail and my repeated subsequent attempts to have a meeting with him in order to discuss his proposals. On 21 November, during a discussion on Madonna King's program, Andrew Fraser repeated the claim that no alternatives to privatisation had been offered inside or outside of Parliament. This moved me to contact both the ABC and Andrew Fraser to ask that that misleading statement be corrected and to again request an interview with Andrew Fraser. Late on the Afternoon of 28 November I was informed in a voice message that a 15 minute interview at the Queensland Government Community Cabinet consultations on Sunday 30 November had been granted.
I was not able to prepare himself as well as I had hoped for the ensuing interview, which was filmed, and I made some mistakes during the course of the discussion.
Nevertheless, despite its weaknesses, that interview is the single most comprehensive debate with the Treasurer on privatisation recorded on any newsmedia. The only other broadcast 'debate' was a short conversation between Andrew Faser and economist Professor John Quiggin on Brisbane's ABC local radio station on Friday 28 November lasting all of five minutes. The ABC has, so far, failed to make a recording of that debate available.
At my meeting with Fraser, recorded on film, I still received no written response from Treasury, despite all the resources it has and the almost four months time which had elapsed. Also, neither Andrew Fraser nor the ABC have corrected the misleading statement that no alternatives to privatisation have been offered.
I hope that people will use this record as a resource to bring the Bligh government under control and/or to inspire future political candidates. I will be standing in the next Federal election myself, and this will be one of my important platforms.
See also: "Courier Mail spins news of 79% opposition to fire sale to reveal its privatisation colours" of 11 Dec 09, "Queensland Rail workers strike against theft of public assets" of 9 Dec 09, "Brisbane ABC suppresses alternative candidates in state elections despite listener dismay with major parties" of 30 Apr 09, "Media contempt for facts in NSW electricity privatisation debate" of 28 Sep 08.
#appendix1" id="appendix1">Appendix 1 - Letter proposing alternatives to privatisation.
Sent Friday 31 July.
Subject: Request for meeting as discussed on the phone
Dear Andrew Fraser,
You stated on ABC 612 Radio's Party Games a fortnight ago (I think) is that no-one had put to you alternatives to privatisation.
In fact, I think there are a many alternatives that would make unnecessary the $14 billion privatisation program, opposed by 84% of Queenslanders according to one opinion poll.
I would like at the meeting to put to you those alternatives, in case they had not already occurred to you, or else learn from you the reasons why you have not adopted those alternatives, if you have considered them.
I would also like to share this dialogue with the broader public.
If, after our meeting, you remain determined to persist with privatisation, and are confident in your case, then you would surely agree that this would be to your advantage.
A number of my suggestions are within the power of the Queensland Government to implement, whilst a few others could be implemented by Federal Government if the Queensland Government were to present its case publicly and assertively.
I can guarantee that all of the alternatives I intend to put would be far more acceptable to his constituency than continuing to sell off the family farm.
The alternatives include:
#StateBank" id="StateBank">1. Setting up a state bank
A state bank could be used to raise the necessary credit to fund any necessary infrastructure. This could be done at far less cost than raising funds through private banks. A state bank has been used successfully by North Dakota in the United States since 1919. Currently it is only one of two States in the US which is still solvent.
Ellen Brown, who has extensive knowledge of banking systems in the US and elsewhere has proposed that the North Dakota model be used as a basis for the solution in California.
Her articles include:
"But Governor, You CAN Create Money! Just Form Your Own Bank." at
"California's Empty Wallet: Turning Crisis into Opportunity" at
"California Dreamin': How the State Can Beat Its Budget Woes" at
"Towards a Solution to the Debt Crisis in California: The State Could Walk
Away and Create Its Own Credit Machine" at
I have yet to see the flaws in Ellen Brown's case. Of course, California still faces serious problems of water shortage, which are being exacerbated by population growth (as does Queensland - see below and see "Crazy From The Heat: An overcrowded California is running out of water and leadership" at http://www.capsweb.org/content.php?id=690&menu_id=8), but California would stand a much greater chance of getting on top of its ecological problems if it followed Ellen Brown's advice.
I am sure that Ellen Brown would be willing to advise you how to get Queensland out of its financial mess for a cost to Queensland taxpayers vastly less than the $200 millon cost of hiring Merrill Lynch and the Bank of Scotland for advice on how to sell our assets, or if she is too busy, I am sure she would be able to recommend others who could, possibly even from Australia.
#borrowing" id="borrowing">2. Borrowing the additional $14billion
As Dorothy Pratt pointed out in her speech in Parliament on 18 June out the $14 billion that Queenslanders stand to gain from the asset sales is trivial compared with the eventual $85 billion deficit that Queensland is expected to incur.
What, then, is the practical difference between $85 billion and $99 billion (less the enormous overheads, including the abovementioned $200 million incurred in privatisation) if in the latter case Queenslanders retain democratic control of so many of our assets and the income streams?
Also, what guarantee is that the ratings agencies won't next year demand that the debt be reduced from $85 billion in order to retain Queensland's AAA rating?
What guarantee do we have that the same arguments won't be put to justify the sale of our power stations, remaining ports, and water infrastructure?
And in any case, why should anyone pay any regard to what ratings agencies think, given their infamous role in having caused the global financial meltdown?
It has been well established by economists like John Quiggin that the benefits obtained by reducing debt almost never outweigh the loss to society of losing valuable assets.
The claim that private investors are somehow more efficient than Governments has been shown again and again to be nonsense. If anything the reverse is the case.
Where figures have been produced that 'prove' greater efficiency, they invariably ignore the shifting of costs onto the broader community by the private investor.
These costs include:
- wanton neglect of the environment;
- destruction of jobs and working conditions;
- loss of training opportunities and career paths;
- removal of services deemed to be 'unprofitable' (in the narrowest monetary sense)
- neglect of infrastructure and equipment;
If all these were to be fully costed, we almost always find that large Government enterprises, particularly in natural monopolies, are more efficient.
Clearly, Queenslanders stand to lose massively and if privatisation is the means adopted to reduce debt.
#population" id="population">3. End Queensland economy's dependence upon population growth
In April 2007, then deputy Premier Anna Bligh defended population growth (explicitly encouraged by your Government by a full-page advertisement placed in the Courier Mail of 8 December 2005) implying that it was necessary to keep people in the construction industry employed.
So, according to Anna Bligh, we are deliberately crowding ever more people into South East Queensland, which has insufficient water reserves to cope with a prolonged drought.
This is why we face impossible congestion on our roads, and it is supposedly to fix this problem that communities all over Brisbane are being destroyed.
The clearing of habitat in order to house additional people is why the Koala may well be extinct in South East Queensland in two years.
We are all paying ever greater rates, water and electricity and gas charges, tolls in order to pay the cost of building additional infrastructure.
As you rightly pointed out a fortnight ago on the abovementioned "Party Games" it costs far more to build necessary additional infrastructure in established areas than in new areas.
On top of that, in a letter sent to me on 19 June, Premier Anna Bligh stated as a justification for the fire sale, "... a State with a rapidly growing population can't afford to ease off building the infrastructure that supports our economy and community."
So, according to the Premier Queenslanders are expected to pay by selling off the family silver for population growth that we didn't ask for in the first place.
To inflict all this upon Queenslanders in order to keep construction workers employed is insane.
At some point, before Queensland becomes as crowded as Rwanda was in 1994, this will have to stop and, according to Anna Bligh's logic, those workers will lose their jobs anyway. Why not, instead, take the truly 'tough' decisions today?
#UsefulJobs" id="UsefulJobs">4. Create jobs which meet the needs of Queenslanders foremost
The University of Newcastle Centre of Full Employment and Equity (http://e1.newcastle.edu.au/coffee/) has fully costed at $9 billion a year a program that will employ every unemployed Australian in fulfilling socially useful jobs. You can download their Full Regional Development Report from http://e1.newcastle.edu.au/coffee/pubs/reports/2008/CofFEE_JA/CofFEE_JA_final_report_November_2008.pdf
Why not implement this at a state level in order to wean us off our dependence upon socially and environmentally destructive housing and infrastructure building, for which we are now being made to pay with our rail forests, ports and roads, according to the Premier?
I look forward to discussing all of this with you in person at our meeting.
#transcript" id="transcript">Transcript of Sinnamon-Fraser debate
This transcript was created by film maker Sheila Newman in the process of producing the three part YouTube video. All is included including some of the more clumsy parts of my own contribution. This was not me at my best. I know I have been a more effective speaker on a number of other occasions. Nevertheless, this interview remains the most substantial and sustained public challenge to Andrew Fraser on privatisation of which I am aware, that is, outside of State Parliament. Although a number of good speeches were made against privatisation by Independents and Liberal National Party members, they were not reported by the media.
I have added comments where I believe they would help clarify the issues.
#transcript1" id="transcript1">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 1
Go to #part1">embedded video.
JAMES SINNAMON: ... email on the 31st of July... in fact I wanted to actually debate alternatives even before the election. That's why I wanted to have a debate with you and Anna Bligh about - or at least see a debate between you and Anna Bligh and someone who's competent to discuss privatisation.
ANDREW FRASER: You and I did participate in a public debate during the election campaign.
JAMES SINNAMON: Well ...I'm not quite sure what you're referring to.
FRASER: It was a candidates' forum that you and I were both present at, James.
SINNAMON: It wasn't ... well, I...I...Anyway, it wasn't actually a debate. It was a 5 minute speech by me. You had a speech...
FRASER: There was questioning from the floor and it was organised by an independent agency, not organised by me.
SINNAMON: It wasn't a debate. You know it was not. I didn't have a chance to respond to you.
FRASER: I'm pretty sure I turned up and there was a debate between candidates and all four candidates were there so let's not pretend something didn't happen that happened.
SINNAMON: That was a debate between about 40 people. It wasn't a debate between ... ah, you know, the public.
A whole lot of people that voted in that election had no idea that um, what was going to be at stake, the further sell-off of 14 billion of their assets. And, polls indicate quite clearly that a hell of a lot of people didn't know that that was on the cards, what was on the table. And the reason I raise this is that I think that people who are the owners of those assets - had every right, every entitlement - to know, firstly, that it was on the table and, secondly, to have the people that were in favour of privatisation put the ... defend ... put the arguments for, and those that are against privatisation put the arguments against it, and have the public decide. Have the public decide which ... whether, privatisation is necessary and whether they'd vote for a pro-privatisation candidate or an anti-privatisation candidate.
Now the people of Queensland were not given that opportunity because my letters were ignored by Anna Bligh and yourself and ...
FRASER: I've written back to you.
SINNAMON: Um...the ...question ...
FRASER: Let's be really clear for the record, seeing as you've chosen to videotape this. 1. We participated in a debate during the election campaign... 2. ...
SINNAMON: In front of 40 people, not on the media, not on any major television [unintelligible] not on prime time ...
FRASER: The media were free to attend. It was an open debate.
SINNAMON. Yes, and they chose not to.
FRASER: Secondly, I replied to your letter and other correspondence.
SINNAMON: You did not!
FRASER: And third, I'm now meeting with you now. So, I don't think you
need to ... um... mount a case that is not, in fact, supported by the
very plain fact that we did all those things.
SINNAMON: The fact was that ... and I freely replied ... I said I didn't get from you the categorical assurance that I sought against privatisation and I thought that since you didn't give that categorical ref... assurance, that what was in order was a proper debate, so that you could defend your refusal to give that categorical assurance. And you did not; you ignored that. That was ...
FRASER: Well, as I said really clearly during the election campaign, James, there were going to be tough choices that we had to face, and we've had to face those.
SINNAMON: But, you did not defend a specific tough choice. That was kept under wraps. 66 per cent of people ...
FRASER: Well we didn't make that ...
SINNAMON: ... believe that they were misled on that
FRASER: We did not make that decision about what we needed to do in terms of a budget.
SINNAMON: Well a lot of people seem to think it was. There's an article ...
FRASER: Well, I'm here to tell you ... I'm here to tell you James, that that's not what the case is ...
SINNAMON: The Courier Mail said that you were just looking for a good ..."it's a shame to waste a good crisis" ...[unintelligible] That's the Courier Mail, 21st of October 2009. I haven't heard your response to that.
FRASER: I'm happy to have a look at what you're suggesting. [Mr Fraser looked at the article.] That's an unnamed source about a meeting between the QC unions and the government and, I think you can safely presume that was something that was said by the QC unions, not by the government, so they can choose to defend that statement, rather than me.
SINNAMON: I note you didn't respond to that ...
FRASER: It's an unnamed source from a quote that's not from the government, so ...
FRASER: I'm happy, I'm happy to defend things from the government, but the other people can defend their unnamed sources.
SINNAMON: The fact is that you didn't raise the issue. You didn't respond to my asking you to debate the issue.
FRASER: I did attend the candidates' debate with you, James.
SINNAMON: That was in front of 40 people.
FRASER: And the whole world was free to turn up. I didn't organise the debate. I didn't set the terms of reference. It was organised by the local Chamber of Commerce and all of the rules were set by them. It was a free and open debate and people could raise questions and issues as you did on the night.
SINNAMON: And I said to you afterwards, in an email, that you had not categorically ruled out privatisation and that that needed to be debated before a wider audience and that was ignored, and because it was ignored the people ...
FRASER: And I acknowledge the point you're making, that I did not rule it out, because we couldn't rule it out, because we hadn't decided what or the way in which we would deal with the challenges of putting together a budget after the election, and that's what we said, clearly.
SINNAMON: Before a wider audience - not just the 40 people who were there - that was ignored. There was no further response. There was numerous correspondences between myself and you and Anna Bligh and I got no response further from that. So the whole thing was quietened up.
FRASER: James, I replied to your correspondence.
SINNAMON: You're trying to say...
FRASER: And I also did, on average, a media conference one day a week during the election campaign, so, the notion that you're putting forward, isn't in fact supported by the facts.
SINNAMON: The fact is that 66 per cent of the people felt that they were misled, according to the polls. 84 per cent of the people, according to the polls, opposed privatisation.
SINNAMON (Continues): They feel, as if they, the owners of the assets, were not given any say in the elections about whether ...
FRASER: So do you agree then that we should spend Queensland taxpayer money building rail-lines for BHP and Rio Tinto?
SINNAMON: I don't think ...I think..
FRASER: Whereas, in Western Australia, those rail lines are built by BHP and Rio Tinto?
SINNAMON: You're giving a false dichotomy. What you are saying is ...
FRASER: No, no, one fact is in West Australia BHP and Rio build the rail lines and in Queensland, the government does. So, my question to you is, do you agree with that situation?
#transcript2" id="transcript2">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 2
Go to #part2">embedded video.
SINNAMON: I don't think it's as simple as that. You are, we are choosing on the one hand, these assets that belong to the public; I put to you in an email on the 31st of July (see #appendix1">Appendix 1) a lot of alternatives to privatisation, one alternative - and I've actually ... I've asked you several times could you please tell me what is wrong with my proposal.
One alternative is that we set up a state bank as does the state of North Dakota, and then, instead of going to private banks, we raise a loan ourselves, through the bank, set up a state bank - North Dakota does that - it's obviously not cost-free but it's a hell of a lot less costly than having to raise it through a private bank then we use that to fund the infrastructure, rather ...
FRASER: James, whether you're a private bank or a state-owned bank, you still raise money through the same channels on the international market.
SINNAMON: No ...
FRASER: So GDC is the treasury corporation which raises capital ...
SINNAMON: Not true.
FRASER (continues): in the international markets for the use of Queensland government agencies, government owned corporations, and the budget sector. There's no such thing as magic money where you get debt for free.
SINNAMON: Well, in fact, the fact is that private banks create money out of nothing. All they do ... a bank considers an asset a promise to repay a loan as an asset, so, essentially you could have a state bank. A state bank that simply gets from the state government a promise to repay the loan. And that is actually considered as money. That's exactly the way that private banks raise their own finances and there's no reason why a state-owned bank can't do it as well. The only difference is that we ...
FRASER: So, your solution is more debt, raised in a different way?
SINNAMON: My solution is debt raised in a different way, but it will be a lot cheaper because it would ...
FRASER: But, more debt.
SINNAMON: Because, it's the way that North Dakota does it. That is the state that is not bankrupt whereas all the other states are done. It's been done successfully in other places.
FRASER: But if you just keep raising more money and more debt, without a way of paying it back, then what's your alternative?
FRASER: There's a limit, is there not?
SINNAMON: It is cheaper to do it if the government owns it. If you don't have to ...
FRASER: But is there not a limit?
SINNAMON: There are limits to how much a state can go into debt.
FRASER: And, what would you propose is the limit for Queensland?
SINNAMON: We're talking about a difference of $14 billion. And the total number of debt is of the order of $90 billion, so it's not making a huge amount of difference. Anyway, I've sent you my email. What I would like, is from Treasury, a written response as to what is wrong with it, rather than argue it out in this way. I haven't got that.
FRASER: Well, I've [? been] undertake to meet with you, James. So ...
SINNAMON: Yeah, okay, but I have also sent you a written document as well and I'd like that... You've had it since the 31st of July. I've given you all four points about the State bank and so forth... and ...
FRASER: And I've just answered your questions ...
SINNAMON: Well, you know, that is ... I don't think that is an answer because my point is that you haven't ...
FRASER:Well, I do not agree with the principle that you can continue to raise debt without a limit.
SINNAMON: But my point is that that is a cheaper way ...
FRASER: You're just proposing a different way to raise more debt.
SINNAMON: A cheaper way. A cheaper way that is done.
FRASER: You'd still have to pay it back.
SINNAMON: That is right. I didn't say it was cost free. I said it was cheaper.
We could have our own state bank. We could raise the finances as a state bank, the same way as any private corporation.
It was done in the past, when we had the Commonwealth Bank. It was done in North Dakota. It's probably been done in lots of other places in the world. It can be done that way. If you have a state bank tomorrow, we could do it. Okay, debt wouldn't go away. But it would be cheaper.
SINNAMON: (continued from above) The second alternative that you haven't responded to is population growth.
Now, my letter from Anna Bligh read, said, that we are paying for ... um... we are selling the assets in order to pay for infrastructure that is necessary to cope with population growth.
Now it is the */choice/* of Queensland Government and Commonwealth Government to deliver the greater population. Back in 2005, Peter Beattie put in an advertisement in the Courier Mail newspaper that asked people to move interstate- move from interstate into Queensland. He never told the people that four or five years down the track, we were going to be paying for extra population growth by selling off the family silver.
FRASER: Well, James, in fact, the biggest population flows, rather than interstate migration, are, in fact, from overseas migration.
SINNAMON: That's right ...
FRASER: So, let me finish my point, please ...
FRASER (continues): and secondly from increase in the natural birth rate. And, I do not believe, as a nation, that we need to have Checkpoint Charlie set up at the Tweed River. It's not only unconstitutional; it's unAustralian. Secondly, I don't support having birth limits for Australians who want to start a family and the reality is that population growth is not a pre-determined government policy, but, the challenge is for us to deal with the population flows which are occurring. So we can't stop people from coming over the border from New South Wales and Victoria. The Federal government sets the migration policy. People are free to move about within Australia, and, thirdly, I don't support a population limit in terms of birth limits, so there is a challenge that needs to be dealt with.
SINNAMON: Both you and Anna Bligh came out after Kevin Rudd made the statement in favour of Australia's population increasing to ... um...I think the figure was 40 million by 2050 or something like that.
You both said, that 'We can meet the challenge' ...
And it's obvious - the newspapers - every day of the week - are full of stories about how the Queensland government has failed, completely failed to meet the challenge of past population growth.
Our streets are a schmozzle. We are being told that our rates and our electricity rates must go up; we must pay more for water, because we have to build more infrastructure to pay for the additional numbers that the Queensland government has deliberately encouraged to come here.
Now, if - ah - and then back in - when the auditor general's report came out and you - it slammed the Queensland government's management of health, management of transport, Anna Bligh stood up and said, "It's not my fault, it's the fault of population growth." And yet, when there's a raging debate about increasing Australia's population by another 60 per cent, both you and Anna Bligh came out and publicly said that we can rise to the challenge.
Other people who are responsible, who care about our future, recognise that there are limits to what water, what we can pay for, said, "This is not on, this has to be stopped." The fact is that the Queensland Government, at every point, has encouraged population growth and it hasn't told the public, 'if we grow the population of Queensland, then you've got to pay for that population growth with selling off the family silver.'
FRASER: The reality that we have to face, James, as we said very clearly in the public arena, is we have to make choices. There's not - There's a finite resource out there in terms of the ability to raise debt. You don't accept that; you agree with more and more debt. I don't. That's the starting point to the debate.
SINNAMON: No, I don't agree with more and more debt. I think there has to be a limit too. So I propose one way to limit ...
FRAZER: What's your limit?
SINNAMON: Stabilise population. And if we are paying [by] selling off our public assets ...
FRASER: Do you support cutting the migration intake, banning interstate migration, and capping the birth rate?
SINNAMON: I say start with stopping international immigration. I say that, if the Federal government is so irresponsible that they want to increase our population by 60 million, then our state governments have responsibility to say, "Hey, we are having to flog off our assets to pay for this."
We are ... and we had to find the money to build desalination plants because there won't be enough water for people to drink, if we don't ... I mean ... we need that point of leadership. Now, a few councils, like the Sunshine Coast council are trying very hard to put a population cap up there. The Queensland government is bent over backwards to make sure that that doesn't work. You know, they're over-ruling their ... um... Instead of supporting those councils they are using every possible opportunity, including this advertisement back in 2005 to actually encourage more people to come here.
You know, it's clear that the Queensland government has created the problem that it now says it has to solve by flogging off our assets. Which are opposed by 84 per cent under Beatty so that people were never asked about in the first place. They were never asked about population growth. They were never asked about flogging off our assets.
FRASER: [Note distortion of terms] I'm happy to have a public debate about whether or not people think we should cap the birth rate orwhether we should put Checkpoint Charlie up at the Tweed River. I happen to think that the community won't support it.
And neither do I. And neither does the government.
SINNAMON: Do you think that it's excusable to actually encourage population growth as well? I mean, we're not talking about "CheckpointCharlie", we're just simply saying that the population has increased to astronomical levels that already raise ...
FRASER: I think we need to be honest about what controlling population growth means, and that means migration controls ...
SINNAMON: That's right, yes.
FRASER: That mean's Checkpoint Charlie, and that means, capping the birth rate, and I don't support it.
SINNAMON: It means that ... okay... well, basically we disagree, don't we? I say any community has a right to say what numbers come in tot his community. I'm saying that, if the community has to go bankrupt, as you are basically saying we are...
You're saying, you're basically telling me, and Anna Bligh has said, that we have to sell-off the family silver, we have to pay for ever-higher electricity rates, we've got to pay more water ...
We've got to basically throw the Mary River people off their farms, and so on and so forth. It's just never ends - to pay for population growth.
#transcript3" id="transcript3">Privatisation and the Right to Govern - Part 3
Go to #part3">embedded video.
SINNAMON (from before):Now I think that the community are entitled to have those alternatives put to them.
FRASER: James, you and I have very different views on this and you exercised your democratic right to stand as an independent candidate in the last election and put those views into the arena. I also stood as a candidate and others did and others are welcome to in the future and I'm happy for the debate tocontinue from here on in, but I don't agree that the propositions you're putting forward are supported by the broader community.
SINNAMON: Well, what do you say to the fact that 84 per cent of the people oppose privatisation, and that they felt - 66 per cent felt - that they were misled in the last election?
FRASER: What I've said - what I'll say to you - is what I've said all day every day, and that is, we had to make a choice; none of the choices were easy: cutting wages, freezing wages, less teachers, less doctors, less school cleaners, when population's increasing. Or you can make a decision about those things that government has done in the past, but, needs to make a choice about whether we choose to fund new rolling stock and new railway lines for BHP and Rio Tinto or, whether we put it into schools and hospitals and other resources that only governments would provide. We're not selling - ah - the timber business as the whole land ... we're selling the right to mill the trees... They're sold anyway, so they're getting the right to mill the trees. That's what we're proposing to transact there. Those are just the elements of what we are doing in making a decision about doing those things that we need to do ... and those things that are the priorities of government. And, when it comes to it, investing in hospitals, investing in schools, investing in disability services, are all the things that we believe, as a Labor government, ... are the priorities over building infrastructure for commercial interests that are able to do it themselves. That's the essential choice that we had to make and it's the one we made.
SINNAMON: Are you going to stop encouraging population growth? Are you going to come out and tell the public, tell the government, that we are ...
FRASER: #NotEncouragingPopulationGrowth" id="NotEncouragingPopulationGrowth">We're not encouraging population growth, we're just dealing with the natural consequences.
SINNAMON: Why not tell the Queensland public that we are paying for the past population growth ...um... with selling our public assets and inall sorts of ways? And why don't you get up and say to the Queensland public that, if this continues, then, what prospect do we have of having anything left in another fifty years time?
FRASER: Well, the problem with your analysis, James, is that it doesn't accept the fact that we're proposing to put $15 billion worth of assets onto the market, from an asset base of more than $200 billion... and by the time we finish, the asset base will be over $250 billion. So, this year alone, we're building an $18 billion dollar infrastructure program which supports building the asset base. Now, the debate we're having here is about $15 billion, which represents ... ah... a component of just one year'sinvestment that we're undertaking. So, everything that we are proposing to put to the market facilitates the capital expansion of the state. Building more assets, each and every day, each year, into the future. And that's the bottom line.
Comment: If this were true, then it would count as a substantive argument for privatisation. As result of selling $14 billion worth of assets, the Queensland Government's asset base is increased from $200 billion to $250 billion. Part of the reason for this would lie in the fact that more infrastructure assets are needed for Queensland's increased population, anyway. MUch of the money is being openly raised by increasing the charges for services as discussed above, so would not be dependent upon asset sales. All the same the figures Fraser has provided don't seem right and need further scrutiny.
SINNAMON: Okay. This letter in the Courier Mail, Friday, said that you haven't yet released the business case for privatisation. When do youintend to do that?
FRASER: We've put the rationale into the broader public arena.
SINNAMON: The general business case, the actual hard figures that actually show the sort of thing the figures of John - Professor John Quiggin's been asking for. When do you intend to do that?
FRASER: Well I debated Mr Quiggin on radio on Friday.
SINNAMON: For five minutes. For all of five minutes. Hardly a debate, I would have thought.
FRASER: Well, I certainly was ... ah... happy to debate him. The reality is we've had to make this decision and all those ... ah... figures are in the public arena, all the entities have reported as government-owned corporations, and ultimately ... and ultimately, you proposed a different policy and platform at the elections, which didn't gain the support of the people. You're entitled to put your views, James, and I'm entitled to put mine.
SINNAMON: Yes, I that's a bit [??vague]. I think that if people realised that privatisation was up for ... was an issue at the last election it would have been a very different story. I don't think you would be treasurer today if people realised that you were going to sell off $14billion of their assets. And I don't think Anna Bligh would be Premier.
FRASER: Well, you're entitled to put your views, James, and you're entitled to ... ah... proceed with them. That's your perfect entitlement as a citizen and I respect that. I've allowed you to film and record this interview. Use it for whatever political purpose you like into the future.
SINNAMON: Just one other question, Andrew, if you're wrong, if you're proven wrong, and our leaders have been proven wrong every time about privatisation, particularly the privatisation of the retail arm of electricity ... where we were promised cheaper electricity. If you're proven wrong, four or five years down the track, just as the Federal government was proven wrong about privatisation of Telstra, what recourse will they have? How do we get out of the mess that will have been created, that most people believe will happen?
FRASER: James, ultimately, I believe that what we are doing is the right thing to do ...
SINNAMON: How do we ... You're not answering my question ...
FRASER (continues from above): and that what we are doing is the correct thing to do, and that's what's decided to do.
SINNAMON: How do we, what recourse do we have? We have no recourse against Peter Beattie who privatised Ergon without ourpermission ...
FRASER: The recourse as ever, is daily media scrutiny, the parliament, and election. That's the way it's always worked in Australia.
SINNAMON: We've had no recourse against Peter Beattie, who sold off the assets against our wishes and we're all paying higher electricityprices. We believe that the same will happen.
SINNAMON (continues): What recourse will we have when it all goes pear-shaped, as people believe?
FRASER: I'm happy to be accountable for all my decisions, James.
FRASER: Thanks for meeting.
SINNAMON: Yeah. Just as Peter Beattie is accountable today. You know, he's headed off and we're in hock because of the decision that he made today and we'll be [indecipherable] ...
FRASER: Well, I disagree with you. You're entitled as a political candidate to put your view and I'm entitled as a political candidate to put mine.
SINNAMON: Why won't you hold a referendum on this? People ... 84 per cent of people are against it, why can't people have the final say on privatisation? You haven't swayed me.
FRASER: Because we're elected to make decisions. We're elected to make the tough decisions.
SINNAMON: People oppose that decision. They have consistently opposed that. They have opposed every privatisation. 70 per cent ofpeople opposed the Telstra privatisation. I believe that you know that they would have opposed you and would have voted you out if they were aware that you ... if they had had any hint that you were going to privatise, and I think ...
FRASER: Well, James, you're advancing a contradictory thesis that ... um...that one time you're saying I did say that in the election campaign, and the second time ... the second part of your question is that I didn't. So you need to decide which accusation you're going to make against me and the government.
SINNAMON: No, I believe that you're [??indeciferable] ...
FRASER: You're a political candidate and you're entitled to your views. I need to progress, so thanks very much for coming along.
SINNAMON: Okay, well thank you for your time.
#DebateRequest" id="DebateRequest">Appendix 3: Correspondence concerning my request for a debate amongst candidates contesting Mount Coot-tha electorate
The e-mail below is a request that there be a debate between the candidates. I took from Andrew Fraser's reply, that the 'candidate's forum' would be something approximating a debate. It turned out not to be. I was first speaker on the night and given only 10 minutes. No opportunity was provided for me to respond to Andrew Fraser's 'rebuttal' of my arguments against privatisation in my own speech.
My many other attempts to get Andrew Fraser to properly debate privatisation and the issues at stake in the elections can be found in "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, "Andrew Fraser's three different responses to a question on privatisation" of 17 Mar 09, "Brisbane ABC suppresses alternative candidates in state elections despite listener dismay with major parties" of 30 Apr 09.
#request" id="request">E-mail requesting debate
Mount-Coot-tha candidates' public debate
Date: 24/02/09 03:47 pm
From: James Sinnamon
To: Andrew Fraser, Larissa Waters, John Pollard
Dear Andrew Fraser, Larissa Waters and John Pollard,
As an Independent candidate for Mount Coot-tha, I would like to have the opportunity to debate all other candidates standing for election before the electors of Mount Coot-tha.
I believe that this would give voters the best possible opportunity to decide which of us is the most suitable candidate.
I think it should still be possible, even given the time constraints (which I personally believe to be unnecessary) to find a suitable public venue for the debate and to organise a meeting.
I also think it would be worthwhile to engage in online debates. I suggest an online forum be set up for the Mount Coot-tha electorate.
In the meantime you can all also feel most welcome to post your own comments to my web site. The most suitable places to comment would be:
I look forward to hearing from you all.
Pro-democracy independent candidate for Mount Coot-tha.
#response" id="response">Andrew Fraser's response
RE: Mount-Coot-tha candidates' public debate
Date: 24/02/09 04:50 pm
From: Andrew Fraser
To: James Sinnamon
Dear James Sinnamon
Thanks for your email. It has been past practice that the Brisbane Inner West Chamber of Commerce has hosted a candidate forum. I have already been approached, and I understand the Chamber is again proposing to approach candidates for participation in such a forum. I propose that, once again, the Chamber host such an event. I've forwarded your email to Lynne Brown of the Chamber, who is coordinating the time and place.
More than 1,300 Queensland Rail workship employees walked off the job in Ipswich, Rockhampton and Townsville in protest against plans to include the workshops in the Queensland Government's $15 billion public assets fire sale. The workshop employees had been led to believe that they at least would be spared from privatisation. However, on 8 December, Queensland Government announced that workshops were to be included after all. Instead of selling Queensland Rail to a private bidder the Queensland Govenment intends to offer shares to the Queensland public in a manner similar to the way in which Telstra was floated. Workers, who would only be guaranteed employment for a further two years after change of ownership were to given $1,000 sharess and offered $4,000 more at a discount.
But the broader Queenland public, many of whom had been burnt in buying Telstra shares aren't interested. An comment in response to a Courier-Mail online article "Rail workers walk off job" was typical of the public's response on both talkback radio and online forums:
Why should the people of Queensland by shares in QR or any other government owned assets. They own it already!!!!!!
Nor were workers interested in the miserable pittance of bribe that they were expected to accept in return for the destruction of their own and their children's job security. ABC online news reported Owen Doogan Secretary of Railway, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) stated that there was "Absolute anger at the idea that $1,000 worth of shares is going to be okay for them to sacrifice the job security of what they have at the present time - absolute joke."
Another ABC online story "Rail workers strike over Government asset sales" reported RTBU Vice-President Ian Moffit had promised more industrial action leading into the new year. He said:
"The union movement have now declared war on the Queensland Government,"
"We are not going to sit back idly and allow all this to go ahead.
It is certainly not a moment too soon. The Queensland Government has been at war with trade unionists together with the rest of the Queensland public for years. The $15billion fire sale is but the latest salvo in that war.
Finally they are getting back a small taste of their own medicine.
Update, 11 Dec 09: A Brisbane Times poll question "Do you support rail workers decision to strike against the Queensland Government asset sell-off?" had 67% of respondents voting 'yes'. Whilst it is possible for the poll to be biased in either direction, this result is encouraging. It would seem consistent with the current 79% of opposition to the sale, but allowing for the fact that many Queenslanders have still swallowed the virulent anti-union propaganda, exemplified by the Courier-Mail editorial "Under the influence: Anna Bligh dances to union tune" of 20 Aug 09. Also, Trade Union equivocation over the sale and their past failure to take decisive action would have compounded the problem. This is discussed in the article "Courier Mail spins news of 79% opposition to fire sale to reveal its privatisation colours" of 8 Dec 09. If this industrial action were to grow into a strong and decisive industrial campaign against privatisation and the union movement were to carefully explain the necessity of industrial action to the public, there is no reason why support for the Trade Union could not at least match the current 79 public opposition to the sale.
Ban Developer Donations Now!
Send to: drostmary[AT]gmail.com
NSW former Premier Nathan Rees told the ALP State Conference in Sydney last month that 'a clean slate' ban on all donations from developers would apply to all levels of the party in NSW.
[Hmm, is that why he was replaced?]
The challenge for Victoria, other States, and the Commonwealth to follow NSW's example and reform their own political funding models without further delay is now clear.
Political campaign reform here in Victoria is long overdue. The public has had enough of the stench brought about by large political donations that appear to be closely linked to contentious property developments and favourable planning decisions.
Political donation disclosure is a joke. The next Victorian State election is expected to be held on 27th November 2010, but loopholes in election campaign disclosure law mean that political donations made between now and June 2010 will not even be disclosed to the public by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) until 2011, and donations made between June 2010 and Election Day will not be disclosed to the public until a year later in 2012 !
This lack of transparency is undemocratic, and must not be allowed to continue.
A Victorian Parliamentary Report earlier this year recommended the 'Harmonisation of Victorian and Commonwealth electoral law' including funding and disclosure obligations.
So Brumby has no time to lose. The Premier must act swiftly to ensure bans on developer donations and other changes necessary are all firmly in place for the next election in November 2010.
SIGNED ON BEHALF OF THE MEMBERS OF
Fill in your organisation or just your name.
Anna Bigh says she cannot see, "any sensible or legal way" to cap the population.
"As attractive as a population cap sounds, I think it's misleading to imply to people that such a thing could be done," she says.
NewsComAu reports today that a Galaxy poll's results "suggest that 60 per cent of Queenslanders want the Government to take steps to limit the state's southeast population growth explosion." (Source: (Craig Johnstone and Natalie Gregg, "Queensland residents want to cap population growth," The Courier-Mail, December 07, 2009)
Misleading, irresponsible propaganda from Anna Bligh
But, although her government actively advertises for overseas and interstate immigrants, Premier Anna Bligh is quoted as saying that, "she said she was yet to see "any sensible or legal way" to cap the population. "As attractive as a population cap sounds, I think it's misleading to imply to people that such a thing could be done," she said."
Population sociologist, Sheila Newman, responds here on candobetter.org:
Premier Bligh could start by ceasing to advertise for more interstate and international immigrants.
Her statements implying that population caps are not possible are ridiculous, misleading and irresponsible. All societies have numerous democratic ways of controlling population, unless they are politically prevented from doing so by undemocratic governments like Anna Bligh's.
We have only to look at the Scandinavian and EU countries in Europe. Among the most important is the ability to limit the issue of building permits at a local level in accordance with residents' wishes. /files/qld-immigration-page-capture.jpg
Premier's stance that resistance is futile is wrong
The premier's stance seems to be that resistance is futile; the growth lobby (driven by property developers) will have it's way with us. It might suit the ALP's interests in land speculation, but it's just not true. A Premier has a duty to her constituents well-being and should be above this kind of propaganda.
The consequences of continuing to grow Queensland's population threaten the welfare of present and future generations far into the future as well as destroying Queensland's magnificent and delightful fauna and flora.
Australians should be aware that the population growth that is happening in Queensland and the rest of Australia is not democratic. It is engineered upwards by government and drives ecological damage, native animal extinction, and unaffordable cost of living.
Here is a quick lesson in how populations are controlled when societies are governed democratically.
Population Policy Battlefronts for democracy and ecological sustainability
1. Local Government
2. State Government
3. National Government
1. Local Government
* power of limiting building permits (and thus of limiting population growth) in line with water catchment capacities, aesthetics, civil hygiene, preservation of agricultural land and natural amenities, like green wedges, nature reserves and parkland
* promotion of energy efficient public and private buildings
* facilitation of householder independence from the State power and sewerage grid
* incorporation of local indigenous species' needs for space, food and water within the concept of local planning and as participants in the regional ecology.
* residents should have self government
* local elected officials and paid staff are servants of residents and should not implement plans without their agreement
* food and fiber production should be local where possible, minimising energy used to transport goods in and out of a community
2. State Government
Wherever States have the responsibility for and power of limiting impact on the bio-regions within their borders they should exercise this within the context of national and local population policy. In Australia the states have the power over land-use and water sources and the ability and responsibility to signal when infrastructure is close to capacity. They have a number of tools for limiting urban expansion. Among these are:
*taxes on second homes, taxes on windfalls gained by sellers when land is rezoned,
*redevelopment, not new development - of old buildings, insulation of old buildings - instead of land-clearing for new construction. These taxes are there to feedback order into the allocation of construction permits and should not be relied upon as something that can be grown to subsidise increases in government spending.
*housing as a citizen's right, a state's duty and a public cost
*land-development by the state to provide low-cost land to undercut speculative private development, which raises costs through unreasonable profits, thus driving up all other costs, and providing a motive for overpopulation
- Water should not be disaggregated from land because this removes valuable biofeedback that signals limits to growth.
- State governments must be entirely transparent in all their transactions and so must the political parties in and out of government. See "John-Paul Langbroek and why the Liberal National Party won't survive unless Labor Governments reform."
- Business can only be the servant of democracy and should not dictate population limits.
- Economy is a subset of the environment.
- State governments have no business making plans for local government to follow if these are not inspected and agreed to in detail by local residents.
3. National Government
* adoption of democratic and ecologically informed population policy
* separation of political and administrative responsibility for population and immigration
* chairing of a cabinet committee on population by Prime Minister adoption of a consumption strategy
* aim to stabilise population numbers by:
- promoting small families and a
- zero net migration program - gives around 70,000 person-spaces
* plan immigration program for the humanitarian longterm, staggering intake to cope with foreseeable ongoing demands and climate change
* Change the emphasis on immigration and population research funding from its longstanding almost exclusive focus on internal migration and ethnic group demographics, in order to give far greater attention to population numbers, per capita energy use and environmental impact.
Australia should support policies to help people to protect local controls over land-tenure, recognising that the population problems of Africa, India and the Pacific Islands, only started when colonisation dispossessed people from their local lands and stable economic traditions in homeostatic indigenous ecologies.
Australia should direct more money into foreign aid to combat the conditions that contribute to overpopulation by assisting initiatives for educating and enfranchising women, enhancing children's health, promoting family planning education and safe, non-coercive family planning methods and protecting local self-government and self-sufficiency.
Australia and other 'Developed' countries should cooperate with United Nations global initiatives in developing longsighted population policies which take into account our high environmental/energy consumption impact per capita.
As an ecologically impoverished commodity producer, Australia should lead other commodity producers by example and assist in the development and use of low energy consumption technology and lifestyle, being careful to keep its population low in conformity with the limiting characteristics of the continent's ecology and the nature of commodity dependent economies, which also do not require large volumes of workers, unless they are conducted as slave colonies to furnish cheap supply to other countries - a practice that is neither ethical, humane or sustainable.
Australia should not encourage high birth rates or high immigration without their constituents knowledge or agreement, based on useful and true information about optimal carrying capacity and the preservation of democratic rights and local empowerment.
What you can do: If you are a Queensland resident and Australian citizen, please sign the petition here.
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"
LNP Leader should not give up trying to restore democracy to Queensland
The Queensland Liberal National Party leader, John-Paul Langbroek, has attempted to restore some democracy in Queensland over the past two months. Perhaps it was 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 in the foreseeable future, simply because the ALP has become so rich and its power so far-reaching, that arguably it is less a government than a commercial corporation.
Langbroek's example should be followed by other politicians and other States.
Reform needs to take place on at least two levels - reigning in corruption by legislating for transparency and to limit cronyism between government, political parties and private entities - and to engage the public more vigorously in their self-government - i.e. democracy. Greater engagement of citizens is imperative because this is the only power left in politics which may be capable of overcoming commercial corporate power which has now merged with a government whose only weakness is its estrangement from the actual electorate.
So far Langbroek's reforming activities in in this regard in parliament have taken two forms:
1. to call for a referendum on privatisation (see p.3143 of Hansard) i.e. public engagement in an issue it knows the public don't agree with the government on  and
2. to submit a bill to make specific inquiries into corrupt systems and activities in Queensland.
This bill was first read on 28 October 2009. It was voted down, not surprisingly, by the majority Labor government on 25 November 2009.
The bill was of extraordinary importance, but to understand it, you need to understand what has been going on with ALP finances. It was of extraordinary importance because it potentially affects the Federal government and potentially every state government. This is because of a massive blurring of boundaries between the ALP, government and business, at Federal and State level, notably involving Labor Holdings P/L, Labor Resources P/L, the Progressive Business organisation and the Advance Lobby Group, and various State Investment Companies, such as the Queensland State Investment company.
The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, has rightly accused the Liberal National Party of doing the same thing, i.e. having 'holding companies' where moneys coming in need not be called political donations because they are not going directly to the political party and can mingle with other earnings. So the argument, on the face of it, is the Wolf's when he is accused of eating little lambs. "Didn't you have roast lamb last Sunday yourselves? Why does that make me bad and you good?"
The problem is that this very big ALP wolf might eat all the sheep and leave none for anyone else, so it means that all the other wolves will have to start regulating their industry and cooperate with the lambs for the stability of the whole. Of course the wolves are the political parties and the lambs are the voters. The industry is politics and the problem seems to be that it has become confused with financial investment, notably in property assets and development.
All over the country, State parliaments are making laws to ensure that the interests of financiers and developers take precedence over those of the electorate.
Cliche's like, "We were elected to make hard decisions," do not justify the failure to consult the community.
Regulation of the industry means rigorously separating political parties from exploiting their positions in government for private sector or party profit. This is especially necessary if ALP financial interests - private, personal or party - have lead ALP governments to pursue unpopular policies and to make undemocratic laws in order to create an advantageous economic and regulatory climate for their members, friends and organisations. The reason that it is especially necessary is that the ALP is allegedly probably one of the richest political parties in the world and rules this land from coast to coast against mostly puny or unenthusiastic opposition parties.
Corruption, Cronyism and Unethical Behaviour Bill - details:
The Commissions of Inquiry (Corruption, Cronyism and Unethical Behaviour) Amendment Bill 2009 was a Bill for An Act to amend the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950 by inserting new terms to have it inquire into corruption, cronyism and unethical behaviour. Its terms are particularly informative of problems in the Queensland Government, but the same processes and some of the same people and organisations seem to be involved in similar activities in other states. People should encourage Opposition politicians in other states to try to bring in similar bills.
Details from the bill
‘(7) The commission is to inquire into the following—
(a) the matters and circumstances that led to, and permitted to continue, the breakdown in integrity and incidences of misconduct in the public sector in relation to the payments received or sought by Mr Gordon Nuttall whilst a Minister, despite the Crime and Misconduct Act2001 and the bodies and powers created under it;
(b) the circumstances and procedures relating to all contracts of Queensland Government departments, or Queensland Government owned or controlled entities or appointments to Queensland Government boards or boards of Queensland Government owned or controlled entities in relation to which Mr Gordon Nuttall had Ministerial responsibility;
(c) the allegations made by Ms Jacqueline King that she and Mr Scott Zackeresen complained to the office of the former Premier, the Honourable Mr Peter Beattie, in 2002 about misconduct by Mr Gordon Nuttall, and the circumstances surrounding the cessation of their employment allegedly as a result;
(d) the circumstances that led to Sunsuper Pty Ltd, a superannuation fund with over $12 billion of funds under management, a substantial portion of which funds are the superannuation investments of Queenslanders, deciding to withdraw $100 million of the funds from the management of Queensland Investment Corporation and place those funds under the management of Trinity Property Trust (‘Trinity’), or a Trinity-related entity, and the coincidence of the payment by Trinity, or a Trinity-related entity, of $1m to Mr Ross Daley (or his company Veritate Pty Ltd), the then senior executive of the political lobbyist Enhance Group, and any other person;
(e) the dealings between Ministers, former Ministers, ministerial staff, former ministerial staff or persons exercising delegated authority on behalf of the Queensland Government, or Queensland Government owned or controlled entities, with lobbyists concerning access to government, the grant or withholding of approvals, the awarding of tenders, the entry into contracts and other decisions;
(f) the relationship between members of the Queensland Government and persons who have been appointed to the judiciary or magistracy by Labor Attorneys-General between 1998 and 2009;
(g) the termination of the employment of Mr Scott Patterson by the Labor Government and the failure of the Crime and Misconduct Commission to adequately address matters raised by Mr Patterson;
(h) the adequacy of the following legislation and government policies, with a view to advising on a coherent, uniform, consolidated and harmonised scheme for stipulating standards of conduct and supervising the integrity of government business in Queensland—
• Auditor-General Act 2009
• provisions of the Criminal Code dealing with
misconduct in public office
• Electoral Act 1992
• Financial Accountability Act 2009
• Charter of Fiscal Responsibility under the
Financial Accountability Act 2009
• Government Owned Corporations Act 1993
• Judicial Review Act 1991
• Local Government Act 1993
• Ombudsman Act 2001
• Police Service Administration Act 1990
• Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
• Public Service Act 2008
• Right to Information Act 2009
• Whistleblowers Protection Act 1994
• Witness Protection Act 2000
• Code of Conduct for Ministerial Staff under the
Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
• Codes of Conduct for Public Sector Entities under
the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994
• Code of Ethical Standards issued by the Members’
Ethics and Parliamentary Privileges Committee of
the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
• Queensland Contact with Lobbyists Code and the
Register of Lobbyists
• Ministers’ Code of Ethics published in the
Queensland Ministerial Handbook;
(i) any other matter raised with the commissioner during the commission of inquiry that the commissioner considers worthy of investigation for the purposes of the inquiry.’.
On 10 November in the Queensland Parliament Mr Langbroek said to Premier Bligh, "Last week the Premier admitted that her Labor government had spent $62.7 million on advertising in 2008. Given that the annual report of the Electoral Commission indicates that a referendum could be held for less than a quarter of that amount, will the Premier now hold a referendum on privatisations to give Queenslanders a chance to have their say, or is it the case that the Premier wants to be heard but refuses to listen?
Ms Bligh, the Premier of Queensland, responded by attacking the opposition for its past record of failing to oppose her government's privatisation. Bligh thus avoided dealing with the two substantial issues:
1. that the wide population does not support privatisation
2. that they were not asked by the government prior to the election because the issue was not put to them
3. that Mr Langbroek is asking for their opinion to be sought and empowered now via a referendum.
Mr Langbroek also asked Premier Bligh why surveys being distributed to householders still did not canvas citizens' views on privatisation.
"Mr LANGBROEK: My second question without notice is also to the Premier. I refer the Premier to the ‘Have your say’ surveys currently being distributed by Labor MPs in their electorates seeking community feedback. Given that the Premier and her Labor Party are spending $1.9 million of taxpayers’ funds to sell the privatisation agenda, will the Premier explain why her local MPs ask for feedback on 11 issues, none of which is privatisation?"
The Premier's response was that Mr Langbroek's party had prepared the way and that the government stand for "jobs" and that it was selling off assets to pay for "a modern Queensland with better services and better infrastructure."
In other words, she failed to answer the question, talked of a very vague mandate, and implied, by reiterating the government's usual justification of privatisation that the ends justify the means and the citizens have no say.
If Mr Tanner likes the lifestyles so much, why doesn't he go to Pakistan and stay there?
No one is stopping him.
Just don't try to impose that suffering on us for your ideology, Mr T.
Goodbye, Mr Tanner, good riddance!
With 'leaders' like that, who needs enemies?
It is true that Bangladesh's population is much denser than Australia's, but if Mr Tanner thinks that Bangladeshi soils and rainfalls are comparable to Australia's then he is really dense.
The reason that Bangladesh is so populous is that it is extremely fertile land, with plenty of water. The reason it is overpopulated is because its old steady state population system of clans was destroyed by war and colonisation. That's what Mr Tanner wants to do to Australia.
He has no right.
Australians have the right to self government, like the Bangladeshis, not dictatorship by ignoramuses like Mr Tanner and the fools that run Bangladesh.
Go to Bangladesh and enjoy the scenery, Mr Tanner! Leave us to repair our land.
Source of quote, "Population fear is nonsense: Tanner", by Ari Sharp, November 13, 2009
This is an interesting supplement to the drive for high immigration and a huge population in Australia. It also gives an account of the role played by The Movement (B.A. Santamaria) in the Australian Labor Party's long exile from government before Whitlam. Some interesting background on Labor Party figures currently in government or recently in opposition.
This research was concluded in 2000, when the ALP had been in opposition since Keating's fall, and the author welcomes feedback and new information on this period and its sequel. See also an analysis of what drives a similar pronatalist movements in Russia in Putin’s Pro-Natalism Miscarries
New South Wales Royal Commission into the Decline in the Birth Rate
In 1904, in response to the decline in the population growth rate in New South Wales and Victoria, the New South Wales Royal Commission into the Decline in the Birth Rate (RCDBR), composed mainly of businessmen with a financial interest in liquidating stagnating property assets, launched pro-natalist and immigrationist recommendations that were to set the tone for a long time to come. In the future much Australian industry, but especially the housing construction and infrastructure industries, was to become dependent on population growth. This is a dependency it shares with other new world colonial states, such as the United States and Canada.[3 ]
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
In 1944 the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) took up where the RCDBR had left off forty years ago. Deploring the “forty year decline in the birth rate” and disparaging a rise in the birth rate between 1940 and 1943 as due to a temporary rise in marriages due to war time, the NHMRC called for pronatalist policies , encompassing the provision of housing, home help, child care for everyone, and kindergartens and better medical services. They also drew attention to the importance of the role played by economic security. The only alternative to an increase in natural increase would be an increase in immigration, but in 1944 that seemed to them an unlikely prospect.
Chiffley and Menzies and Immigration
However the Chiffley (Labor) and Menzies (conservative, Liberal) governments, although strongly populationist, seem to have largely ignored the 1944 pronatalist policies recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council and to have relied on immigration. This may have been because the baby boom made pronatalist measures seem redundant as long as it lasted. The initial hope was to rely on natural increase to make up one per cent of population growth and immigration to contribute another one per cent. In Australia the immigration program had marked nation building aims but also had the major function of providing a ready supply of labor for industrial expansion.
Papal conspiracy, Communism, Democratic Labor Party and ALP
But what had happened to the strong pronatalist traditions which had persisted through the Second World War to the 1944 Report of the National Health and Medical Research Council? How could they just have disappeared?
In fact pronatalism continued to exist, particularly in the Australian Labor Party, and especially among its Catholic members. However it is hard to find any record of related pronatalism and policies in the literature which has been written about family policy of this time. This may be because an entire block of pronatalists separated off from mainstream Labor parties in a traumatic split in 1954. The Democratic Labor Party which resulted from this failed to flourish.
Remarkably, these events do seem to have been the culmination of a down-under papist conspiracy, far-fetched as that may seem. At the time Protestants outnumbered Catholics in Australia and Catholics had encountered discrimination in the workforce, especially during the Great Depression. There developed a secret society of Catholics, organised and under the direction of bishops , to carry out a Vatican encyclical inspired plan to Catholise Australia.
Catholic Action and the Catholic Social Studies Movement and Dr Santamaria
The secret society, of which the full name was “The Catholic Social Studies Movement” grew out of “Catholic Action”, a concept developed in Europe in the 19th Century . Catholic action had been active in Australia from the 1930s and was particularly concerned about the spread of communism. However “The Movement”, as it came to be called, had a wider range of free standing policies and combatting communism may in the end have been more of an excuse for its empire building activities. It was led by Dr Bob Santamaria, an Italian born Australian lawyer of unshakeable religious convictions, intelligence, charisma and a taste for power. The first edition of its weekly newspaper, Freedom, was launched in September 1943. The centre of the Movement was in the State of Victoria, although it was Australia wide.
The Movement was highly pronatalist and immigrationist . The pronatalism and immigrationism, as well as important for increasing the number of Catholics in Australia, were also crucial to its major plan, which was to block further urban concentration and settle the hinterlands of Australia with a vast population of contented peasants congregated in rural communities. Redistribution of wealth – not communism, but in the context of setting up a population of small property and business holders - was the economic philosophy .
Among the stated policies of the Movement were:
“8. Payment of a marriage bonus and payment of adequate family allowances, 11. Possession of Family Homes for all.” 
In effect the campaign sought the reunion of Church and State, as we can see from the item about education:
“9. A National System of education, 20. Recognition of religion as the basis of education.”
The leader of this movement, Bob Santamaria, gave pronatalist and defensive reasons for the emphasis on rural development in Rural Life, May 1951. He wrote,
“...The second reason was national. Professor Macdonald Holmes proved to us that the birth rate, the very strength, the very numbers of our community, depended upon the strength of rural life. We were given time and again the relative birth rates in metropolitan, provincial, and country areas, and it has been proved, not only through Australian experience, but through world wide experience, that any increase in population must come from the rural areas. Therefore if we hope for survival of the country everything has to be done to build up those areas which have been given us Australia.”
Was Chiffley influenced by “The Movement” – Murray Darling Basin and Snowy Mountain scheme?
It is interesting to note that a number of policy items from the movement were eventually carried out. Arthur Calwell, (Labor) the first Minister for Immigration under the Chiffley Labor Government and main driver of the post 1945 massive immigration program was himself a practising Catholic , and, although he did not follow other Catholics into the Democratic Labor Party, it seems plausible his policies were influenced by ideas emanating from the Movement. Among those polices taken up were two calling for the institution of a bigger migrant intake and intensive irrigation in the Murray Darling Basin, with hydro electricity generated in the Snowy Mountains to be used exclusively inland, to encourage industry .
ALP, Unions and Reds under the Beds and Santamaria
There is evidence that in later years the Labor Party showed a high degree of confusion on whether to take seriously the threat of imminent invasion, which, with the maoist revolution, suddenly replaced that of a communist takeover of Australian unions .
This is perhaps not surprising, given that Santamaria and Catholic activists who had preceded him in the Labor Party had initially been preoccupied with the 'enemy within', to wit, the issue of the communist take over of Australian unions. There was for years a battle for dominance within the party between its communist members and its Catholic members. When the Movement began to organise a secret resistance network to communism within the union movement and the Labor Party, the issue of communism as a threat was covertly sown but absolutely pervasive and deeply rooted. Suddenly, after the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949, Santamaria virtually stopped pushing the communist union issue in order to take up foreign policy and the threat of invasion by Asian communists. His theme was “Ten minutes to midnight”.
ALP Split from within – confusion reigns
The seismic split that divided the Labor party in 1954 identified the Catholic activists from the Movement as the threat from within, and so this must have made those Labor party members outside the movement wonder if the communists really were the enemy. And, since the Movement activists had led the Ten to Midnight campaign about the threat of Asian invasion, it is not surprising that those Labor party survivors of the split had become disenchanted and distrustful of all that old rhetoric.
Liberal foreign policy
The rhetoric of course had taken on a life of its own, of reds under the beds and the yellow peril. It was now the basis of official foreign policy under the Liberals, with a major immigration program the chief strategy for defense. Birthrates were of course coming along quite nicely all by themselves.
Purge within ALP
In December 1954 the Movement-sympathetic Victorian Executive of the Australian Labor Party was outlawed. By means of elections run by the Federal Executive despite the defiance of the incumbent executive, it was replaced by a new anti-Movement Victorian Executive. On 30 March 1954 the John Cain Victorian State Labor Government resigned and reformed, excluding four Catholic supporters of the outlawed Movement-dominated Victorian Executive. Seven Victorian Federal parliamentarians – S.M. Keon, J.M. Mullens, R. Joshua, WM Bourke, TW Andrews, JL Cremean and WG Bryson – all Catholics except for R Joshua, were expelled from the Australian Labor Party because they refused to declare their loyalty for the new Executive.
Both ALP and the New Australian Labor Party (the early DLP) lose election
These seven expelled ALP members met in April 1954 and formed a new Australian Labor Party, known as the “Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist)”, which eventually became the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) .
Both Labor Parties contested the next Victorian election and, unsurprisingly, both parties lost to the Liberal Party.
It must all have been profoundly traumatic. Not only would documents and records have been lost, but there was a sudden rupture in the chain of human command and in the chain of human message bearers within the party.
Although the baby boom would have obviated any but extremist preoccupations about the birthrate, pronatalism must have been considerably “on the nose” anyway in the Labor Party, at both Victorian and Federal levels. It could not help but be associated with the policies of the treacherous Movement that had infiltrated the Party to such a degree. Even if there had been widespread concern about communism within and without the Party, the tactics of the Movement overshadowed this.
Whitlam Era: Pronatalism on the nose
At any rate, in these intrigues may lie the explanation for the apparent disappearance of pronatalism after 1945. It had been there but in one fell swoop a great many pronatalists had absented themselves to form a major political vehicle and had formed a new party. That party struggled on and probably assisted the maintenance of the Labor Party in opposition for many years. The Democratic Labor Party never really achieved much success for itself and whatever pronatalist agenda it retained failed to make much impact on Australian policy. In 1974, encouraged by Gough Whitlam, the last of the DLP members of parliament, Vincent Gair, resigned to take up an appointment as a diplomat to Ireland.
As well as distancing itself from a foreign policy based on threats of invasion, Whitlam’s government, from 1972, launched a number of widespread policies to promote family planning, women’s rights and equal opportunity. For a long time the Labor Party stayed well away from pronatalism.
“Movement” disbanded by Vatican 1957
The Movement was officially disbanded by the Vatican in 1957. The DLP became a Federal party, but never rose to any great success. Santamaria never became a member of parliament but was a major influence on the policies of the DLP. In December 1957 Santamaria formed the National Civic Council to continue anti-communist work.
The National Civic Council still exists. It has various offshoots, including the Australian Family Association, which is domiciled in the Thomas Moore Centre in North Melbourne. It is run by one of Santamaria’s daughters and produces a newspaper, the News Weekly, which has a circulation of 10,000. It is still a pronatalist organisation, but lately has become less supportive of high immigration .
For years Santamaria had a column in the Australian, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch who is a Catholic convert and was recently made a Knight of the Vatican. The newspaper is very much in favor of high population growth. Santamaria died in 1998. He had eleven children.
Pronatalism creeps back: Peter McDonald and others
Towards the end of the 1990s it seemed to me that pronatalism was returning to polite demographic discussion.
On the 14 October1999 there was a big demographic conference at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, “The Transformation of Australia’s Population 1970-2030.”
Chaired by ANU Demographer, Peter McDonald , the conference had a strong streak of pronatalism. It was the first conference of academic importance that I had attended where there was a serious and almost unquestioned assumption that Australia and much of the developed world were threatened by the ‘grave’ possibility of 'exponential decline' in population. Impressive Power Point displays showed the populations of the United States ballooning like a cheerful fat man, that of Australia dwindling and feeble and Japan, with a total fertility rate of 1.45 and zero net immigration fading to a pitiful anorexic spindle.
The presenter of this session on “Comparative Fertility Trends,” was Professor Phillip Morgan of Duke University. The assumption at the beginning was that Australia would not be able to get the kinds of skilled immigrants it was felt would be needed in sufficient quantities and that there would be economic chaos if the population were allowed to decline. This left the only option to somehow boost the birth rate. (Note that Bruce Chapman, ANU professor of Economics who presented the session on the future of the labor force did not share this opinion at all. Rather he surmised that, employment wise, it would probably be an easier world in the next 35 years than it had been!)
I have heard that the Federal Labor Party had eschewed mention of the declining Australian fertility rate for a long time through a strategic desire to avoid feminist backlash .
Kim Beasely as ALP leader, his MP father, and pronatalism
On 15 May 2000, however, the leader of the Australian Labor Party (in opposition), Kim Christian Beasely, made a press release regarding a discussion paper on ALP Family Policy. This was reported on West Australia local ABC news item on the 15th May.
Interestingly the current ALP leader’s father, Kim Edward Beazley, was still the patron of the Australian Family Association in 2000. The Australian Family Association in Victoria is housed in the same premises as as the NCC, at the Thomas Moore Centre and is something of a “sister group” to the NCC. Kim Edward Beazley was a West Australian member of Parliament and member of the Labor Party. In 1950 he was an Anglican  but showed sympathy to the Movement’s policy ideals, notably that of allying the party closer to US foreign defense policy than British . He has long been a committed member of Moral Rearmament  and a dedicated anti-communist. In March 1955 the Federal Conference credentials of Kim Edward Beazley senior were suspended for three years by the Western Australian ALP along with those of three others who were identified as sympathetic to the divisive aims of the Movement .
The Family Policy that ALP leader (1996-) Kim Christian Beasely announced in 2000 included greater access to Child care and higher endowment, concluding with a statement to the effect that this policy package would also be likely to raise Australia's falling birth rate. This was most important as "the present birth rate was leading to an unsustainable population for Australia. There is a pressing need to encourage higher rates of childbirth."[25 ]
The paper itself, entitled “Family Futures” emanated from the office of South Australian member of Parliament, Mr Swan, the shadow minister for family affairs. It explicitly denied “putting pressure on people to have children, or any such antiquated rubbish, but rather, making life easier for families; both in financial terms and in terms of the time balance between work and family life. However, arresting our declining birth rate is only a threshold issue. If we can provide more people with the opportunity to start a family, we should be prepared to back this with policies that deliver ongoing support from the time children are born.” The bulk of the policies were for better provision of child care ; there was little, if any, financial inducement. Nevertheless it is inescapable that the document has for its major raison d’être increasing the birth rate.
Apart from the more specialised Financial Review, the Australian (which also appears as the Weekend Australian) is the only wide circulation national newspaper in Australia . In 1999 Angela Shanahan first appeared as an occasional feature writer in a column called Focus . Shanahan seems to have been selected by the Australian as a pronatalist writer. Her major qualification for this post, apart from her reasonable ability to write, is her claim to be the mother of nine children. Since mothers of nine are a distinct minority and therefore could not represent a large and influential market for the Australian, one assumes that the newspaper is towing a pronatalist line.
“Procreative minority” was the title of her piece in the Weekend Australian on 20-21/5/2000 . In it she describes a “kind of pursed-lipped, neo-Darwinian attitude of “the poor breed like rabbits”” She pushes the line that Australia has a “shrinking and aging population”, concluding therefore that “opposition to income support for big families is puzzling.” She attributes this to “extreme environmentalism or an ideological antipathy to the nuclear, patriarchal family which, in feminist newspeak, is always oppressive.” She promotes the idea of greater financial support for big families because they produce the “taxpayers of the future.” Disparagingly, she describes single people as “lonely old singles who never did manage to confront their fading youth”, and she complains that her children will have to support these singles as well as herself and their father.
Essentially she is suggesting that government should pay a wage to women who produce children and that this should be scaled to the number of children and that the tax system should be reformed to tax families rather than individuals. She does not go into detail but refers to the policies of the National Civic Council linked Australian Family Association.
This paper was written in about 2000, placed here in pdf form on 28 June 2006, and slightly reedited for the internet on 9 Nov 2009. Copyright to Author, Sheila Newman
Astridnova[AT]gmail.com Please cite: Sheila Newman, “Pronatalist Policy in Australia from 1945 to the turn of the century,” (2000) candobetter.org/node/623
[1 ] See most documents dealing with the history of population enquiries in Australia, e.g. Neville Hicks, This Sin and Scandal, ANUP, Canberra, 1978, p.93, Stefania Siedlecky & Diana Wyndham, Populate and Perish, Australian Women Fight for Birth Control, Allen and Unwin, Australia, 1990 and Borrie, W.D., (Chairman), Population and Australia, A Demographic Analysis and Projection, First Report of the National Population Enquiry, Parliament of Australia, 1975, Parliamentary Paper No. 6, Printed by Courier Mail Service, Campbell Street, Bowen Hills, Brisbane, Queensland 4006., Vol.1
 Sheila Newman, Malthusianism, Neo-malthusianism and Women’s Rights in Australia, from 1770 to the 1990s, published on French internet site, Populatique, CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), http://www.ehess.fr/populatique/, Ed. LeBras et Ronsin of EHESS. Curiously, the Commission had ignored the impact of gold rushes to New South Wales and West Australia in removing males of reproductive age from the South Eastern States, and they also ignored the dampening effect the desperate economic times must have on the remaining population.
[3 ] Conversely, from 1974, Western European economies began to gear to population stabilisation and decline and the housing industry adapted to factory built housing on demand, instead of engaging in land speculation. See http://dieoff.com/page194.htm
 Borrie, W.D., (Chairman), Population and Australia, A Demographic Analysis and Projection, First Report of the National Population Enquiry, Parliament of Australia, 1975, Parliamentary Paper No. 6, Printed by Courier Mail Service, Campbell Street, Bowen Hills, Brisbane, Queensland 4006., Vol.1, pp193-194.
 Paul Ormond, The Movement, Nelson, 1968, p 122. Ormond cites part of a letter from the Editor of the Melbourne Catholic newspaper, The Tribune, Mr Ted Adams, to T.M. Butler, (5 May 1961): “As at April 1955, the Movement was an authentic Catholic activity with a madate from the Hierachy. It was directed by and its executive officers were responsible to an episcopal committee. In such circumstances it was surely the function of a paper under Catholic control to reflect its policies without question, and to reject any submission which brought them into the sphere of open debate.”
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, pp44-46.
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, pp44-47.
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, pp47-48. Murray cites the first issue of the Movement’s weekly newspaper, Freedom, where the movement’s policy was described under twenty points: 1. Public control of monopolies, 2. Public conrol of credit, 3. The Institution of Industrial Councils, 4. Assistance to small owners, 5. Part ownership of industry for the workers, 6. Co-operation in all aspects – producers, consumers, marketing, insurance and credit, 7. The principle of an Adequate Income for all, including a minimum wage that will meet all the needs of the family, allow it to provide for the future, attain to the ownership of property and imporve its cultural condition, 8. Payment of a marriage bonus and payment of adequate family allowances, 9. Wages a first charge in industry, before dividends or profits, 10. Equal pay for equal work, 11. Possession of Family Homes for all, 12. A strong program of regionalism, including spreading of all the conveniences of the city to the country home, 13. A national campaign for Family Land Settlement, 14. A radical crisis to solve the problem of rural debt, 15. Independent Farming as the normal productive policy, 16. Co-operation in agriculture, 17. A Fair Return for the farm production, 18. Self-government of agriculture, 19. A National System of education, 20. Recognition of religion as the basis of education.
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, pp47-48. Murray cites the first issue of the Movement’s weekly newspaper, Freedom, where the movement’s policy was described under twenty points.
[10 ] Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, pp47-48. Murray cites the first issue of the Movement’s weekly newspaper, Freedom, where the movement’s policy was described under twenty points
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, p111
[12 ]Paul Ormond, The Movement, Nelson, 1968, p.116. Ormond comments that Calwell, who was a practising Catholic, felt that he had been ‘frozen out’ of his Parish Church when he did not go with the Democratic Labor Party at the height of the Labor Party Split in the 1950s. Instead he changed churches.
[13 ]Although note is taken that Calwell was criticised by Movement supporters for his failure to support the movement and was slurred as a communist. See for instance, Ormond, The Movement, Nelson, 1968, pp115-116.
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, pp 55-56, “Mostly under the influence of [Colin Grant] Clark, [economic advisor to the Queensland Government and a convert to Catholicism], the main lines of Movement social policy by the early 1950s ... [included] 6. Social services designed to encourage big families, 7. A bigger migrant intake, to build up the population, with many of the migrants being settled on the land and a high proportion of them Catholics, 8. Intensive irrigation in the Murray Darling Basin, with hydroelectricity generated in the Snowy Mountains scheme to be used exclusively inland, to encourage industry....”
 K Betts, Ideology and Immigration, MUP, 1988, pp86-87. She cites Dennis Altman, Rehearsals for change: Politics and Culture in Australia, Fontana, Melbourne, 1980., p.101. Betts identifies the schema of threat of invasion as a motivation for populating the land. She comments that this was a topic of open debate towards the end of the 1960s, for a short time. “In the years after World War II the development of Asian communism seemed to make the issue simpler and starker, at least for conservatives.” She adds that the picture was rather more confused for the Labor Party, and describes Calwell’s attitude as combining strong committment to the threat schema, whilst refusing to assign that threat directly to either communism or to Vietnam. She cites Denis Altman as arguing that such confusion characterised Labor thinking in the pre-Whitlam era.
[16 ] Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, p56.
[17 ] Paul Ormond, The Movement, Nelson, 1968, p.93
 Personal communication from Robert Birrell, reader in Sociology and Anthropology at Monash University and author of many books on population growth in Australia.
 McDonald’s articles about population projections have been cited by the Minister for Immigration (who is the defacto minister for population) and some McDonald material was displayed on the website of the Minister.
“Minister Releases New Findings on Australia's Ageing Population, MPS 115/99 .
...A new report entitled The Impact of Immigration on the Ageing of Australia's Population has been prepared by ANU demographers Professor Peter McDonald and Rebecca Kippen, and projects that the proportion of Australians over 65 will double over the next 40 years. Those over 65 are expected to represent 24 per cent of the Australian population - the result of Australians having fewer children and living longer. While the report found that the ageing of Australia's population is inevitable, it states that factors including current migration levels will have an impact on the composition of the population into the second half of the 21st Century. "This research indicates that calls for a significantly larger Migration Program on the grounds that it would help keep Australia younger are misdirected and ill informed. Higher net migration would add to the size of the population but would have little impact on the age of the population," Mr Ruddock said. "Equally, heeding calls for zero net migration would accelerate ageing of the population." Wednesday, 11 August 1999, Media inquiries: Susan Sare (02) 6277 7860 or 0407 415 797.
 In 2000 I listed my source as confidential, but I don’t think this factor is any great secret.
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, p.146.
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, p.42 & 146.
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, p.264
 Robert Murray, The Split, Australian Labor in the Fifties, Cheshire, 1970, p.241
 Report on ABC News Item sent to me by email on 16 May 2000 by Vice President of West Australian Branch of Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population, Paddy Weaver.
 The print media is almost exclusively dominated by only two chains; the Murdoch and the Fairfax Press.
 “Procreative minority” is the title of her piece in the Weekend Australian on 20-21/5/2000 p.30.
"An Age/Neilsen Poll taken last week has confirmed most Australians do not share Kevin Rudd’s grand ‘big Australia’ vision.
Treasury Secretary Ken Henry recently predicted Australia’s long term projected population has increased from 28.5 million in 2047 to over 35 million by 2049.
Only thirty percent of those surveyed believed growth at this level was acceptable.
Australia’s rebuke of Mr Rudd’s ‘big Australia’ comes on the back of comments made earlier this year by former NSW Premier Bob Carr likening population growth of this enormity without an environmental impact assessment, to playing ‘Russian roulette with water security.’
While Mr Rudd and the Labor government might be excited about a ‘big Australia’, this poll shows Australians are seriously concerned of the demands this population explosion will place on our infrastructure, environment, economy, social systems and quality of life.
Mr Rudd has arrogantly failed to provide any coherent strategy or detailed plan to accommodate this projected population explosion in a sustainable way.
The Prime Minister’s ‘big Australia’ ambitions and lack of any credible policies to deal with the forecast ‘population explosion’ should set off alarm bells about the problems our cities and environment will face.
Mr Rudd should set aside his ego and self interest in spruiking a ‘big Australia’, simply to make himself a ‘bigger diplomatic deal’ and focus on the national interest of tackling the challenges presented by a population explosion on settling and supporting an extra 13 million people in the coming decades in a sustainable way.
The Hon. Bruce Billson MP
(in Victoria, encompassing Frankston among other suburbs)
Shadow Minister for Sustainable Development and Cities
10 November 2009
Poll shows Australians do not share Rudd’s vision for ‘Big Australia’
Poaching skilled workers and removing political activists; dividing and conquering; restructuring communities to remove democratic organisation, multiculturalism as a cover for big business links with politicians
Political outcome of poaching skilled and educated elites
The poaching of skilled and educated people from other overpopulated countries is a way of removing a class of people in those countries, who might otherwise lead their compatriots to struggle against overpopulation and exploitation by corporations and crooked governments and religions.
It serves a base political purpose and helps keep people of the third world in misery.
What is more, when large volumes of skilled and educated people come to a new country, they naturally focus initially on establishing themselves and their families. It takes quite some time to establish oneself materially. They do not tend to focus on the political well-being of their new country any more than they did on the political well-being of their old country. It may not be until the second generation that most immigrants become spontaneously politically active.
If and when they are ready to look at real political integration here, they will discover that their new country is ruled by the same corporate press and the same two 'pretend' political party system as existed in their old country. They will discover in Australia the same globalising, ecociding and populationist policies, the same lack of democracy, the same cynical and evil marketing of water and soil as commodities, and the same breakdown of local networks and self-government in the suburbs where they settle. They will see, if they can see through the political propaganda all around, that Australia is a country on the way down to the condition of the countries that they left. They will see that Australians are being forced into a struggle to survive debt and dispossession that is also taking their energies away from useful political activity.
Australian elites keep new and old Australians apart on purpose
When I said that immigrants are usually not politically active until the second generation, that does not stop them from being organised into silence and against national solidarity for the political ends of the dishonest elite that dominate Australia's media and government. I would identify the daily allegations by the press and by national and state politicians of Australians as 'racist' or 'selfish' as being a calculated way to keep the new immigrants and the native-born apart, thereby atomising any likelihood of national solidarity. As long as new immigrants believe that Australians are racist or stupidly selfish, they are not going to trust us, so they will not help us to defend the nation they have come to be a part of, against exploitation, degradation, poverty and dictatorship. Also, as long as new and old Australians believe what the government and the mainstream media tell them, they will not be able to see what is really happening around them and find common cause with their neighbours and workmates.
How Developers structure political disorganisation
There is a new land-use planning structure which also has the effect of keeping new and old Australians apart and ruining natural organic settlement and social organisation. This is the streaming of overseas immigrants into newly built suburban enclaves. When property is advertised off the plan to people overseas, along with visas and job contracts, you can finish up with entire suburbs where most of the inhabitants are new Australians from the same region, with similar incomes (defined by the cost of the housing), possibly even with similar occupations (suburbs full of doctors, nurses and town planners according to the 'needed occupations stream'), all arriving more or less together, as the houses are built. This is also convenient for politicians who wish to target voters in blocks by identifying common local or ethnic or social concerns. It is convenient for business wanting to build new private schools, swimming pools, hospitals and infrastructure. They know that they will have a captive market. It is essentially a money-making proposition for business and a vote market for politicians. It artificially segregates people from others with common interests.
In the workplace as well, those new nurses and doctors won't dare to speak out for fear of losing their contracts or not being able to acquire citizenship. So once again, you have silenced a community. As for the imported town planners - well, they have probably already been brainwashed by the industry. We cannot expect them to uphold democracy, only capitalism.
(I welcome contact with any planners who can demonstrate support for organic democracy. I will be happy to publicly apologise and to publicly support them. Here is hoping some contact us at candobetter.org!)
Australians need solidarity with new Australians and real democracy
Australians need solidarity with new Australians. This means that the people here need to find a way to identify as a nation despite the political and media classes and to communicate to new Australians that what they read in the papers and hear from our Prime Minister and Premiers is not what is important to the people.
We all have to start to distinguish reality from media production and government spin.
The importance of national identity is the ability to organise to get real rights and real political choices and a real press. This is what the French Revolution got the world. The French Revolution is the basis of modern democracy. Capitalism is not the basis of modern democracy; it did not bring democracy to the USA or anywhere else; it brought exploitative capitalism. Just look at the sub-prime global heist as taxpayers are forced to subsidise banks. That ain't representation! Democracy and capitalism (and communism for that matter) should not be confused, but are, constantly, by the global anglo elite and their colonial and emerging partners in ransacking this planet. (Communism is just a reaction to industrial capitalism, with similar values which include population growth = wealth and centralised authoritarian government in huge polities.)
If we are not a united nation, with clear rights to self-government at all levels, and the ability to control our numbers and the size and impact of our cities, and to choose whether we live as hunter-gatherers, farmers or as industrialised workers in cities, we are not free and we are not a democracy and we have no power to stop what is being done to us.
Structural disorganisation means political disempowerment of grass-roots
A further point is that, apart from the structure of new enclaves, we are being physically disorganised in other ways by mass immigration and by our economic structure. People have little time, due to travel and long hours, to participate in community. Their neighborhoods are being disorganised by infilling, huge highways, winding new roads in new suburbs, and other infrastructure, including things like desal plants and new heavy industry. Even the delivery of services has been disorganised by outsourcing. This has the effect of disorganising political expression about these services.
Our local governments have lost their power which now lies with the State governments and the state governments have been infiltrated and outsourced to property developers. Public servants now serve private interests. The National government takes its cues from banking and big business. The ruling clique - the ALP - owns massive investments in property and banking - set up, amazingly, by our Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swann in Queensland before they entered Federal politics, notably in the form of Labor Holdings P/L and Labor Resources P/L. I don't pretend that the Liberal Party is not underpinned by the same business interests, but they are not as 'successful' as yet. That clique belongs to a bigger mysterious clique which manifests in arcane coalitions, such as the Australian Multicultural Foundation, which has a host of connections which would not be of any interest were it not that its small membership is mostly made up of very high profile politicians from Liberal and Labour - The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP (Prime Minister of Australia), The Hon. John Howard AC, The Hon. Kim Beazley AC, The Hon Mr Simon Crean MP, The Hon. Alexander Downer, The Hon. Robert Hawke AC, Dr J. R. Hewson AM, The Hon. Paul Keating, Mr Mark Latham, The Hon. Andrew Peacock AC... [More interesting membership details and page info reproduced at end of this article.]
These are some reasons why Australians must organise politically outside the established political parties. We need many more independents to form coalitions of common interests and we need to ensure that those independents are not actually fakes, ready to vote with the dominant political parties.
Australia's history of political oppression
It is likely that many of the convicts sent to Australia were in fact political prisoners. Removing them from Britain made it all the easier to keep the British from demanding real rights as citizens. Many other protesters were, of course, executed in England.
This is something that Australians should be able to make clear to new Australians. Our country was founded on political oppression - of the indigenous people and of the first convicts and indentured servants. Unfortunately this condition has continued because of the structure of representative government and the power of the mainstream press to support and manipulate it for economic ends.
We are still a colony and treated legally like colonial citizens. This needs to change, but not through top-down republicanism.
Do also have a look at this page which shows the Australian Multicultural Foundation in the bigger political and corporate picture.
[Links to information about members are made by candobetter.org and do not appear on the AMF page itself.]
Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF)
Board of Directors
The Hon Sir James Gobbo AC CVO (Chairman)
Major General Peter Maurice Arnison AC CVO
Ms Carla Zampatti AM
Professor Kwong Lee Dow AM
Executive Director and Company Secretary
Dr B. (Hass) Dellal OAM
Mrs Brigit Murikumthara
Ms Azmeena Hussain
Ms Athalia Zwartz
Training and Project Development Manager
Ms Lynn Cain
Members of the Foundation
The Hon. Kevin Rudd MP (Prime Minister of Australia)
The Hon. John Howard AC
Dame Beryl Beaurepaire DBE AC [Generally noted for activism in girls' education and women's affairs in Liberal Party and historic involvement in WAAF, but described as company director in the registration of the Foundation.]
The Hon. Kim Beazley AC
The Hon Mr Simon Crean MP
Mr Ivan A. Deveson AO
The Hon. Alexander Downer
Sir Llewellyn Edwards AC
Mr William Charles Fairbanks [?Secretary of Landcare Australia P/L)
Ms Gaye Rosemary Hart AM
The Hon. Robert Hawke AC
Dr J. R. Hewson AM
Ms Vivien Suit-Cheng Hope (Careers and Counselling Centre Tutor, Centre of Asian Students, University of Adelaide)
The Hon. Paul Keating
Mr Mark Latham
Mrs Irene Kwong Moss AO [Home Building regulation]
Mr Robert Brooker Maher AM Executive Director, American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, Paddington NSW and Former board member of The Australian Rail Track Corporation and with the
Ms Wendy Elizabeth McCarthy AO Interestingly, this woman is also a patron of the Australian Reproductive Health Alliance, which has links with Sustainable Population Australia. Interestingly, she is also Chair of McGrath Estate Agents, currently expanding into Australia's iconic Blue Mountains.
Mr Lindsay Gordon Crossley Moyle AM
Professor John Nieuwenhuysen AM
The Hon. Andrew Peacock AC
Mr Ross Tzannes AM
Mr George Wojak AO MBE
Dated 1988, with illegible month, it is signed by R.J.Hawke, (witnessed by his senior private secretary in the prime ministerial lodge in Canberra); Sir James Augustine Gobbo (Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria); Michael George Kailis, Governing Director of M G Kailis Group of Companies, West Australia [Seafood and pearl culture industries]; George Wojak; Lindsay Gordon Crossley Moyle, Chief Executive Officer, State Bank of Victoria, 131 Powlett Street, East Melbourne; Sir David Ronald Zeidler, Company Director, Park Avenue Towers, Parkville, Victoria [Past Chairman of ICI and 1983 - 1988 President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering];Dame Beryl Edith Beaurepaire, Company Director, Mt Eliza, Victoria; Vivien Suit-Cheng Hope, Careers and Counselling Centre, Tutor, Centre of Asian Students, University of Adelaide, S.A.; Ross Tzarthes, Solicitor, Pryor, Tzannes, Glebe, NSW; Marie Anna Elizabeth Blake, Managing Director Jetset Tours (Old) Pty Ltd, New Farm QLD; William Charles Fairbanks, General Manager, Finance and Management Services, The Australian Bicentennial Authority, Wahroonga NSW; Gaye Rosemary Hart, General Manager Programs, The Australian Bicentennial Authority, Elizabeth Bay, NSW; James Frank Kirk, Chairman and Chief Executive, The Australian Bicentennial Authority, Edgecliffe, NSW; Wendy Elizabeth McCarthy, General Manager Communications, The Australian Bicentennial Authority, Mary St., Longueville, NSW.
Full text of this submission may be downloaded here in a pdf file 293.43kb.
Kelvin Thompson, ALP, Federal Member for Wills, (a House of Representatives seat.) Wills is located in the north-west of Melbourne, Victoria, comprising Coburg, Coburg North, Gowanbrae, Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale, and Strathmore, extending as far north as Fawkner, Glenroy and the Western Ring Road and south to include most of Brunswick and Brunswick East and containing parts of the State electorates of Pascoe Vale, Brunswick, Broadmeadows, Thomastown and Essendon. At a local Government level it shares most of its borders with Moreland, but includes Strathmore from the municipality of Moonee Valley and the Essendon Airport.)
It is indeed cheering to hear a member of the Federal Government criticise the policies of the Growth Lobbyists in Australia. The speech quoted at length below was in Labor MP attacks Melbourne's expansion plan ( July 20 2009) misreported in the Age where it was conflated with statements from the Committee of Melbourne. This conflation misled me and others to believe that Kelvin Thompson was against expansion into the Green Wedges, but was calling for open slather along the main arteries of Melbourne. If you read his submission or the quotes below, you will see that he is actually stating that more population growth in Melbourne is environmentally and socially unsustainable. He is critical of arguments for expansion or infilling. He also exposes the related hypocrisy and nonsensicality of the Government's climate change policies in the light of continuous population growth. He even exposes the fact that the Victorian State Government advertises for high immigration, a fact that they constantly avoid making clear to the long-suffering public.
I have to say: Bravo Kelvin Thompson! You show leadership in a government apparently composed mostly of cowards and ignoramuses who take orders from big business against the interests of their electorates. The only thing you have left out is the role that the Federal Government plays in granting the states the numbers they so vociferously demand of it.
Headings are by the candobetter editor:
"Our city is forecast to have 4 million people living in it by the end of this year, with annual population growth rates reaching 2% (Colebatch 2009). The outer fringe of Melbourne is currently taking 61% of our population growth (Buckley 2009). This is placing pressure on the existing Urban Growth Boundary.
Climate change is the biggest moral issue of our time
Climate change is the biggest moral issue of our time and addressing it must be at the forefront of our public policy planning. Compared to other major cities throughout the developed world, Melbourne has one of the highest rates of carbon emissions per capita. Our city’s cars, trucks, motorcycles and public transport services were recently recorded to generate 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, compared with just 8.5 million tonnes in London. This equates to 3.1 tonnes of carbon per person in Melbourne compared with 1.2 tonnes per person in Greater London. One of the key reasons for our significantly higher rate of emissions per person is because of Melbourne’s larger geographic area, which means journeys tend to be longer and heavily reliant on cars (Lucas & Millar 2008).
Twice the number of people in Melbourne will mean twice the amount of carbon emissions, congestion and pollution.
Existing Government policies are encouraging an expansion of up to 75,000 people a year. If we continue down this public policy path we will need to accommodate another 1 million people before 2025 (Buckley 2009). By 2036 Melbourne is predicted to have a further 1.8 million people, nearly twice the number forecast in Melbourne 2030 (Moncrief 2008). Twice the number of people in Melbourne will mean twice the amount of carbon emissions, congestion and pollution.
Submission to the Urban Growth Boundary Review
1. Executive Summary
Our city has reached the point where we need to change direction or risk our social and environmental future.
Melbourne is at a fork in the road. For a long time our city, its way of life and the opportunities it offers to all who come here has been the envy of cities around the world. To maintain this desirable situation we must act decisively to address the issues that threaten Melbourne with becoming another crowded, over populated, congested and polluted metropolis. Our city has reached the point where we need to change direction or risk our social and environmental future.
The Urban Growth Boundary Melbourne@ 5 million review provides the opportunity to investigate the issues currently facing our city and the options we still have to address them. This submission will identify the ecological issues associated with expanding the northern, western and southern Urban Growth Boundaries and discuss the long term consequences for Melbourne of the proposed expansion. I am making recommendations which will protect Melbourne’s social and economic
growth, local amenity, transport system and reduce our carbon footprint. I have put forward an alternative plan to that of an ever expanding urban fringe.
Melbourne is one of the world’s most liveable cities. This year it was ranked third out of 140 cities as being the most liveable city. Our lifestyle, employment opportunities, health system, education system, infrastructure and environment are all aspects of a community that is the envy of many around the world (The Age 2009).
Melbourne is now the fastest growing city in Australia, with thousands flocking to live here on a never before seen scale. Melbourne’s population is growing on a scale not seen in Australia before, swelling by almost 150,000 people in two years (Colebatch 2009). The 2001 Census recorded Melbourne’s population at 3.3 million people (ABS 2001). In 2006 our population reached 3.6 million (ABS 2006). It has continued to grow faster than that of any other city in the country.
Melbourne’s population grew by 74,713 in the year to last June and by 74, 791 during the previous year. Melbourne’s population is growing by more than 200 people a day, or almost 1500 per week. Melbourne’s population growth last year far outpaced all other major Australian cities. Sydney grew by 55,047 (1.35%), Brisbane by 43,404 (2.3%) and Perth by 43,381 (2.8%) (Colebatch 2009).
In response to revised population projections showing that Melbourne will reach five million people faster than anticipated, the Victorian Government announced its intention to review the Urban Growth Boundary in December 2008 (DoPCD 2009:i). The Urban Growth Boundary was introduced in 2002 as part of Melbourne 2030 (DoPCD 2009A). The boundary was expressly put in place to contain urban sprawl. It was expressly designed to prevent ongoing urban expansion into rural land surrounding metropolitan Melbourne and its fringe (DoSE 2005). It set out to place a clear limit to metropolitan Melbourne’s development. It sought to concentrate urban expansion into growth areas that are served by high capacity public transport (DoSE 2005A).
The most recent review of Melbourne @ 5 million forecasts an additional 600,000 new dwellings in Melbourne with 284,000 of these needing to be located in growth areas. Most of this future growth will be in the north and west of Melbourne (DoPCD 2009:i).
The State Government is investigating changes to the Urban Growth Boundary in response to updated population forecasts and revised longer term growth issues (DoPCD:6). Areas under consideration for urban expansion include 20,448
hectares in Melbourne’s west around Caroline Springs, Melton and Werribee; 25,385 hectares around Sunbury, Craigieburn and Donnybrook and 5560 hectares east of Cranbourne.
Under the plan Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary would be allowed to grow another 41,000 hectares to accommodate an extra 415,000 people. Development of these areas would lead to a loss of some of the most valuable grasslands on the city’s fringe (Dowling & Lahey 2009).
Around the urban fringe, we have a concentration of some of the most endangered ecosystems in Australia, including Western Basalt Plains Grassland and Grassy Woodland, and a diverse range of other vegetation types and threatened species (Environment Victoria 2009). It is vital we do everything we can to protect these ecologically sensitive and important areas from being overrun by high density development.
The Victorian Government is now seeking public feedback on the proposals regarding the proposed changes to the Urban Growth Boundary before a final decision is made (DoPCD 2009:3). In making a final decision, I encourage the Victorian Government to consider the issues of population, local amenity and liveability, climate change, economic growth and transport. I have put forward recommendations that are designed to tackle urban sprawl and that will continue to protect the
things that make Melbourne great.
Everything that makes our city the great place to live, work and raise a family, is potentially under threat if population growth and urban sprawl continue at the current rate.
Everything that makes our city the great place to live, work and raise a family, is potentially under threat if population growth and urban sprawl continue at the current rate. We must implement a strategy to control population growth, urban expansion and development. Our way of life, open spaces and infrastructure cannot be sacrificed on the altar of ever expanding population. We have a responsibility to secure our city’s future through thorough, thoughtful and detailed planning. This
planning should not include an expanding Melbourne waistline.
Encouraging urban sprawl and ever increasing high density developments will lead to a more
polluted, congested and unsustainable Melbourne. Bringing millions of people in to Melbourne will increase the stress on water supplies that are already strained, increase reliance on fossil fuels by communities that are on our urban fringe, and it will increase Melbourne’s carbon footprint when we must be reducing it.
Regrettably the planning process in Melbourne is not being used to achieve environmental sustainability. Melbourne is generating more greenhouse emissions, using more water, losing open space and turning into a high rise steel and concrete jungle. Planners and policy makers talk the talk of protecting Melbourne’s environment, but their actions have the opposite effect. They behave as Gough Whitlam once described rowers facing in one direction but heading in the opposite one.
The promise of Green Wedges to give Melbourne lungs of open space in which to breathe has been broken
A fundamental component of planning for Melbourne’s growth during the 1970s was the concept of
urban growth corridors radiating outwards, separated by wedges of non-urban land (Friends of Merri Creek 2009:3). But the promise of Green Wedges to give Melbourne lungs of open space in which to breathe has been broken, and is proposed to be broken yet again. We need to retain Green Wedges as permanent wedges between growth corridors, not as potential urban land supply that is bulldozed as soon as there is a demand for it.
Blurring of Government with Land Speculation Ominous for democracy in Australia
The opaque but omnipresent relationship of Australian state governments to developers and big business is a source of disquiet. A Bastille Day lunch between Victorian Planning Minister, Mr Madden, and big-business seemed especially Marie-Antoinette, as hundreds of angry farmers, other landholders, wildlife and other environment groups, demonstrated outside.
All were concerned about the bad laws and injustices that excessive population growth is driving in Victoria. Most are beginning to realise that it is because of the Government's excessively close relationship with the developer growth lobby that Victoria is suffering from water shortages, homelessness, increased violence and loss of democracy. A new tax the government wants, which would involve taxing landowners instead of developers for government-imposed changes to land-zoning could beggar thousands of people.
Jill Quirk, Victorian President of Sustainable Population Australia, said, “Planning Minister Madden's Bastille-day lunch with the ALP's developer-linked Progressive Business fund-raising arm is ironic.”
Yes, Jill. Bastille Day is the anniversary of the time in the French Revolution when the people demanded representation in return for their taxes from a worthless government that was selling off public land to the highest bidder in order to finance debt and printing worthless money.
Progressive Business Association: Official association for Big Business and the Labor Party
The Progressive Business organisation calls itself is ‘an associated entity of the Australian Labor Party [which] from time to time, donate funds to the Party’. It has two membership types : Corporate - $1,550 (incl. GST) and Business - $990 (incl. GST). Corporate members get 5 Tickets to the Breakfast Briefing Program and access to 5 Twilight Briefings for 5 company representatives; Business members get 3 Tickets to the Breakfast Briefing Program and access to 5 Twilight Briefings for 3 company representatives.
Most Victorians pay far more than this in taxes every year but the Minister for Planning doesn't listen to them.
The Victorian public get NOTHING but coercive population growth and development expansion. Research has shown that many of the government's sponsors and business associates reap far more in public contracts than they ever donate.
President Quirk commented that, "In a democracy, government policies should be conceived and drafted with the interests of ordinary citizens in mind. The push for more and more population growth causes friction, disruption and loss for those directly impacted and also to the citizens at large. Nature as a whole is being steam-rolled and many cannot sleep at night from rage and despair."
Kicking the immigration-fix
The ABC reports that
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has rejected a push for a big cut in Australia's migration intake (20 February 2009), despite "Research from Monash University demographer Bob Birrell [which] says the Government's economic rescue package will not save jobs unless the migration intake is cut by two-thirds."
The ABC describes Ms Gillard as having rejected the research, saying there is still a need for skilled migrants.
"We've made some recent changes so that we are taking skilled migrants who have jobs," she claimed, insisting that, "(...) even in today's economic circumstances there are still some parts of our nation where people are crying out for skilled labour, and we have the migration system to assist with that."
Let's see, Gillard believes that there are still some parts of the nation that desperately need skilled labour. Maybe so, but do they "still" need (as if they ever really did), an imported labor force and all its family members coming in annually at a higher rate than ever before, equivalent to the population of a small, rapidly growing city each year? And what do we do with the newly unemployed when these immigrant-demanding businesses go bust?
Politically addicted to unsustainable immigration; any excuse will do
I'm afraid that Ms Gillard sounds to me as if she is more interested in satisfying the demands of the property development and finance industry (which have driven our economy and democracy into the ground) than in serving her constituents (the broad population of Australia) and looking after our long-term welfare.
As candobetter commentator, Greg Wood, rails, "Can someone get Gillard to specify where the skills shortage is now that the resources industry and construction industry are beginning to majorly shed jobs?
Who pays for this costly habit?
While they are at it, can they also ask how increasingly unemployed and under-employed Australians are going to pay the pressure-cooked urban rentals that her lackey Government seems intent upon trying to prop up?"
Update: Immigration Minister Chris Evans 'expects' skilled immigration numbers to drop 'next year' due to the global economic crisis. See "Australia to cut skilled immigration" in the Age of 23 Feb 09