Defending Australia without defending war: Alternatives to the Australia-US Alliance

This article describes, among other things, the relationship of the property development industry with war. The Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) recently asked for public submissions to its “People’s Inquiry Exploring the case for an Independent and Peaceful Australia.” It called for a “a people's-led national conversation about the US-Australia Alliance, including the social, political, military and defence, economic and environmental impacts.” The concept of a “people’s inquiry” implies a new attempt at democratic representation, assuming that Australians cannot be sure of being represented in a government-run inquiry, which will always be influenced by powerful groups. This article is based on my submission.

e-petition against local councils accepting unsolicited land proposals

"In Victoria, this practice has started with Banyule Council's deal with Woolworths, who approached council to purchase an additional 828sqm of public land that wasn't on the market.
It introduced the influence of private developers over and above transparency to the public, and puts every piece of public land at risk. The Woolworths deal was well over 2 years in the making before it came to light. Imagine if you discovered that our parklands or even a local park was negotiated for sale 2 years ago - now is the time to act before the precedent is set. Public land should stay in public hands." (Excerpt from petition).

Bees, trees, and disease - Pandemics - you ain't seen nothing yet, Australia

The mainstream media has given a great deal of coverage to the COVID-19 pandemic - as it should - but interwoven among the stories on poor vaccination rates, conspiracy theories, and the people ignoring quarantine, there is a consistent run of horror stories on the impact of lockdowns, often with a message that we must get back to the pre pandemic "normal" life. This is understandable, businesses are going broke, unemployment is rising, domestic violence and mental illness are increasing. It is an unpleasant situation, but returning to the old norm is not a solution. This, after all, was the lifestyle that created human movement into wilderness areas, bringing us into contact with pathogens that we have little resistance to combat.

Halcyon Close - Grab this townhouse opportunity! - Article by Sally Pepper

I knew it was my lucky day. Returning home from a walk this afternoon I removed the clutter of advertising material from my letter box. A rather subdued, tasteful card caught my eye as I shuffled through the assortment of catalogues and lost kitten notices. I noted the heading on a sage green coloured card - "Halcyon Close" - featuring a double storey, apparently newly built, modern styled townhouse complex. The verso showed the interior and outdoor living areas of one of these hallowed retreats, the living room suffused with light through floor- to -ceiling windows, onto neutral-coloured walls and soft furnishings, the outdoor living area dappled with sunlight, through a hint of greenery, on a neutral-tiled patio and beige outdoor furniture.

Sir Humphrey Covid

It's interesting how so many sentences and ideas now trail off into the inevitable denouement "… but that didn't happen because of Covid"…"We had to change plans because of Covid." It's as though Sir Humphrey Covid is some VIP, for whom doors must be opened and the seas must part. Or, as though Covid is an unexpected first born baby to a couple in their 40s whose lives are now utterly transformed. "We couldn't celebrate Henry's birthday this year because of … Baby Covid." "Covid" could be anything or anyone terribly important - one's mother in law arriving from Europe or a visitation from a long dead relative. All must stop … for Covid!

Intergenerational report (IGR) 2021: Sustainable Population Australia responds

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) believes there is nothing to fear from the downward projection of population size in the Inter-Generational Report (IGR) from 40 million to 38.8 million by 2061. National President Jenny Goldie says what is to be feared are the environmental, social and economic cost of adding another 13 million people to the population.

EveryAGE Counts: "Smaller, older Australia need not be feared if we can crush ageism"

The new Intergenerational Report (IGR) has projected Covid will make Australia’s population smaller and older than earlier predicted, but that need not be a problem if we can take real steps to end the blight of ageism, according to the EveryAGE Counts campaign. EveryAGE Counts is funded by the The Benevolent Society

In launching the IGR, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government remains committed to funding essential services while maintaining a sustainable tax burden. EveryAGE Counts Campaign Director Marlene Krasovitsky, said the key to achieving these goals is making a concerted effort to fight ageism.

"Ageism is now a huge drag on our economic growth," Ms Krasovitsky said.

Lighting and green spaces Speaker Event 27 June Prahran, Victoria

Walk in St Kilda Rd & Environs presents Planet Ark National Tree Day Nature Care Event 2021: "Lighting and Green Spaces - an Expert Panel Presentation on new research and challenges," Sunday 27 June 2021, 2.30pm – 4.30pm, Prahran Mechanics Institute, 39 St Edmonds Rd, Prahran VIC 3181

This Friday: Two Melbourne Protests for Julian Assange - British Consulate 7:30am and Flinders Street 6:30pm

Tomorrow (Friday 18 June) from 7:30AM until 9:00 AM outside the Melbourne British Consulate, Supporters of Julian Assange will be protesting against his illegal continued imprisonment by the British government. Apparently, Julian Assange, who has not been found guilty of any crime after more than two years imprisonment in solitary confinement 23 hours per day in Belmarsh Prison, is being kept there awaiting the lodgement of the United States' appeal against Judge Vanessa Baraitser's ruling of 6 January 2021 to disallow the extradition of Julian Assange - an outrageous abuse of procedure. Then from 6:30pm outside Flinders Street Station, other Melbourne supporters of Julian Assange will be holding their weekly vigil.

The inordinate length of time that the US prosecution is taking to lodge its appeal seems to be an indication that they are struggling to come up with any arguments that would hold any weight in the British Appeals court. That the British Judicial system has apparently not set a deadline for the US prosecutors can only be wilful negligence on its part. It is long past time that the Australian Government should have acted to bring this outrage to an end.

Inquiry:Finding the "balance" between heritage and industry (Northern Territory)

The Northern Australia Committee will hear from a range of "stakeholders" to listen to their perspectives on finding the right balance between protecting cultural heritage and allowing industry to operate in Northern Australia.

Representatives of the North Queensland Land Council, Queensland Resources Council, Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, Jack Green, Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining and Queensland University will be appearing.

The public hearing is part of the inquiry into the destruction of Indigenous heritage sites at Juukan Gorge and will be held by video/teleconference to continue the committee’s investigation of cultural heritage issues in Queensland and in the Northern Territory.

DFAT to appear at first hearing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership inquiry

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will appear at the opening public hearing today for an Australian parliamentary inquiry looking at the merits of expanding the membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The CPTPP agreement signed in 2018 is a trade bloc of 11 countries that includes Australia and is an export market of 500 million consumers worth nearly $14 trillion. The parliamentary inquiry will examine the scope for expanding the TPP beyond the existing membership of Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia and Peru to include new members. Find out how to view the inquiry by video at http://www.aph.gov.au/jfadt

Julian Hill MP to put crucial Motion for Julian Assange to the Australian Parliament this coming Monday 21 June - how you can help

Update, 16 June: (see comment) The House of Representatives Selection Committee has ruled that Julian Hill's motion cannot be put this coming Monday 21 June. That motion will now have to wait almost 7 weeks, until 9 August, in the next (joint - both Senate and House of Representatives) sitting of Parliament, before it can be put and debated!

New important initiative. Labor MP Julian Hill's private motion may finally force Australian parliamentarians to take sides for or against Julian Assange and lead to his being freed. Whether this motion is heard and debated depends on whether the House of Representatives Selection Committee allows it. We urge Australians to contact their local members and each other to get behind Mr Hill's motion, which calls for Assange to be set free from his illegal imprisonment, noting that he is the recipient of many awards for journalism, detained for political reasons through an abuse of power. If the motion is allowed through, then both sides of the house will be obliged to vote or abstain, and the Australian public will finally see what they are made of.

What's changing with Medicare? It's really hard to find out ...

"On the 1st of July, just a few weeks' time, we're going to see the biggest changes to the Medicare Benefits Schedule that we're aware of in the history of Medicare. Over 900 items are changing and this has a significant potential impact on patients. The problem that we're seeing, and the problem that we're calling out today is that Government have only just released these new changes to the schedule in the last week or so, leaving only a few weeks for doctors, health funds and others to determine what their fees are and what the arrangements will be for the future.

Now, the changes to the schedule are quite significant, including very significant cuts to some rebates that patients may expect for their surgery as a result of rule changes within the MBS. But the bigger problem is the chaos that's going to ensue because doctors can't tell patients how much they can expect to receive back from their health fund because they simply don't know. It's not the fund's fault. They haven't had a chance yet to develop their own fee schedules. It's not the doctors' fault because they've just got no information around which to have a conversation with their patients for surgeries that have already been booked post first of July. So our message to patients having orthopaedic surgery, also cardiac and general surgery, is that if you do receive a bill that is not what you're expecting, if your doctor is unable to tell you what your fees are, it's not the doctor's fault. It's not the health funds fault on this occasion, it's the Government's fault." (Omar Khorshid, President Australian Medical Association.) Read more on the AMA's site at "Dr Omar Khorshid - MBS changes and comments on quarantine," 6 Jun 2021.

Law Council queries secret trials in Australia and case of 'Alan Johns'

According to the recently publicly released summary of offending, it is still unknown what offences Mr Johns pleaded guilty to, why he was given a term of imprisonment, exactly why the proceedings were conducted entirely in camera, and why even the ACT Attorney-General was never made aware that he was imprisoned in a correctional facility which the Attorney ultimately oversees,” Dr Brasch QC said.

Australia's Parliament must act to end the illegal imprisonment of Julian Assange

On 3 June, Peter Khalil, Labor member for the Melbourne metropoliton seat of Wills, presented to Federal Parliament a petition from one of his constituents on behalf of Australian journalist Julian Assange. The video of Peter Khalil's speech is embedded below.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate will be sitting this coming fortnight, firstly, on Tuesday 15 June and then the following two days and, secondly, on Monday 21 June and the following three days. Members of the "Bring Julian Assange Home" Parliamentary Group could use these sittings to properly hold to account the Government of Scott Morrison over Julian Assange through a proper debate. They could consider putting to both houses a motion which calls on the Government to act to end the illegal imprisonment of Julian Assange. A motion I have already suggested to members of the group is included below.

How the "Bring Julian Assange Home" group can make the Morrison government act to free Julian or hold it to account for failure to do so

Update:2:10pm, Tue 15 June 2021: I have been contacted by Millie from Andrew Wilkie's Hobart Office. Millie advised me that last year, Andrew Wilkie put on notice a motion a Private Members' Motion in support of Julian Assange.This motion was still not been put. The attached PDF of the motion, and the text of the e-mail from Millie, are included below.

Further Update:2:30pm, Tue 15 June 2021: As I was updating this article, I received an email from Julian Hill, another member of the Support Group. He told me that he has put on notice another motion in support of Julian Assange, and has asked for debate time. I will post the full email shortly.

15 June: Parliamentary discussion limited by collusion between Liberal/National Government & Labor Opposition?

For the past 12 months at least, there has been little effective scrutiny of the abandonment of Julian Assange, and worse, by the Australian government in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. This is because, by the seeming choice of both the Government and the Labor Opposition, those who want to raise the issue of Julian Assange, who are members of the Cross-bench and even those who are members of the governing Liberal and National Parties or the Opposition Labor Party, have only been able to raise this issue through a Private Members Motion (PMM - see below for explanation) which requires a lot of effort on the part of that member and which can still be refused by the Selection Committee. Consequently those who want to speak for Julian Assange on the floor of Parliament can do it in two other ways:

  1. Putting a question to a government minister. As is shown in Greens' Senator Janet Rice's questioning of Foreign Minister Marise Payne on 25 March, the amount of time allowed for the question, the Minister's obfuscation response and discussion about that response, seems to be only two minutes - usually only a fraction of the time necessary to properly discuss most aspects of this issue.
  2. Tabling a petition as shown in Australia's Parliament must act to end the illegal imprisonment of Julian Assange (8/6/21). On this occasion, after Labor member Peter Khalil presented a petition for Julian Assange and spoke for 1 minute and 19 seconds, no member of the Government took the trouble to respond.

Clearly, discussion of such a crucial issue as Julian Assange warrants much more time than the Australian parliamentary duopoly has , so far allowed to occur.

Australia's "Bring Julian Assange Home" group should act now on the floor of our national Parliament

The denial of Julian Assange's liberty in London for almost nine years since June 2012 and, more so, his imprisonment in Belmarsh prison since April 2019 in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day, is against British law and International law. Had the Australian government chosen to use its authority, it could have long ago ended Julian Assange's ordeal, got him out of prison and back to Australia, to be with his two children and their mother Stella Moris.

Instead the Australian government chose variously to do nothing or else to smear Julian Assange.

On 12 April last year a number of Australian parliamentarians began to speak up for Jullian Assange. Some even personally visited Julian Assange in prison. Johnn Shipton, Julian Assange's father puts the number in in the "Bring Julian Assange Home" at 28. [1]

In spite of this sizeable number of members of the support group and in spite of the massive support for Julian Assange in Australia and across the world, the Federal Government has yet to be properly held to account before the Australian people for its abandonment of Julian Assange.

Stella Moris speaks in support of Julian Assange and Palestine

Stella Moris @StellaMoris1), the mother of two of Julian Assange's children, spoke today to a London protest in support of the Palestinian resistance to Israel's recent aggression against the Gaza strip. She told the large crowd how Julian had previously revealed secret communications amongst Senior Israeli officers in their planning of wars against Palestinian men, women and children.

Video: Markham Estate Ashburton Overdevelopment Public Rally - Sat 15 May 2021

The video inside the article is a record of the third ARAG (Ashburton Residents Action Group) public rally over six years in the residential battle to protect Markham Estate and the surrounding streets and environment.

Do Melbourne pro-Palestine protesters think the Palestinian resistance can triumph whilst US forces and their terrorist proxies rampage through neighbouring Syria and Iraq?

Can Palestine be liberated while the US illegally occupies Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq? Apparently Melbourne's pro-Palestine movement thinks Palestine can be liberated whilst Syria has much of its territory illegally occupied and US troops also illegally occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.

I attended both the Freedom Protest and the huge pro-Palestine Protest in Melbourne yesterday on 15 May 2021. At both protests I intended to show my support for each of those two respective causes and to distribute our leaflet on Julian Assange. [1]

IPAN condemns theft of Palestinian homes & land by Israel

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network calls on the Australian Government to stop its support of the Israeli occupation and condemn the theft of Palestinian homes and land by Israel.

2GB Interview & transcript: Pandemic population pause could spark higher living standards (William Bourke & Michael McLaren)

You may have been wondering when and who would point out the silver lining in the current situation, where the interruption of decades of mass immigration has seen employment prospects and living standards for many ordinary people looking good in Australia for the first time in decades. If so, you will be very pleased to catch the following interview between 2GB's Michael McLaren and the Sustainable Australia Party's William Bourke, on this very issue. We are living through fascinating times.

On 10 May 2021, Michael Mclaren (2GB radio) was joined by William Bourke, President of the Sustainable Australia Party, to comment on the RBA’s report that suggests that the pause in immigration due to the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to higher living standards in Australia and could spark wage rises in some regions and industries - even though the economy will be smaller than previously expected. In its quarterly statement on monetary policy the preceding week, the RBA noted, “The Australian economy is transitioning from recovery to ­expansion phase earlier and with more momentum than anticipated.”

The Burden of the Public Consultation Melbourne Planning Scam - by Sally Pepper

Planning scam, or should I say, planning scam juggernaut. The speed of so-called consultations for new development proposals is overwhelming democracy. No-one, except wealthy professional developers, with dedicated teams of staff, can keep up with the proposals. Maybe that’s the point. Still recovering from two recent surgeries, and on the heels of an unavoidable community organisation event, involving time consuming preparation and sequelae, I was looking forward to taking a break. I could see about 3 weeks of "clear sky" ahead of me, in which I could deal with an issue of mutual concern with my neighbour, do my tax return, prune the lemon tree, wash the curtains, and organise the hard rubbish for Friday. This feeling of relative freedom lasted about two days, before yet another "opportunity" for consultation from Melbourne Planning reared its head.

Importing India's doctors when India needs them ...

India is in a terrible state due to the pandemic, a situation largely the result of gross mismanagement by the government. The spread of the virus was difficult to control because of high-density cities that made lock-downs extremely difficult for residents, and safe separation impossible. A highly infectious new variant may also be a driver, but there are other factors, including an underfunded health service, and a severe shortage of doctors. India needs about 600,000 more doctors, just to meet the WHO recommendations for doctor to patient ratio. Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse. A study by the Indian Journal of public health found that, because of population growth, India will need another 2 million doctors by 2030.

Melbourne May Day: march to demand that the Australian government act to end the illegal imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange from Trades Hall, South Carlton

Apologies for this very short notice.

At 1:30pm today, 1 May 2021, the International Workers' Day, the day on which Trade Unionists commemorate the struggle and sacrifices by trade unionists to achieve dignity and decent living standards for themselves and their families, supporters of Australian journalist and founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange will be marching as a contingent, behind Melbourne for Wikileaks' (@Melbourne4Wiki)'s large banner, pictured further below.

Julian Assange has committed no crime and has already served his outrageous 50 week sentence for the supposed misdemeanour of skipping bail back in 2012 when he sought political asylum at the London Ecuadorian embassy. Yet, two years after his imprisonment, he still outrageously remains behind bars after two years imprisonment, in solitary confinement for 23 hours per day, as United States prosecutors pursue their appeal of Magistrate Vanessa Barraitser's ruling against the extradition of Julian Assange.

Where: Melbourne, Trades Hall, corner of Lygon Street and Victoria Street, South Carlton.

When: Today (Saturday, 1 May), 1:30pm

Speaker of the European Parliament stops members from properly scrutinising claim that the Syrian President used poison gas on his own people

See also MEPs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly reject claims they spread 'fake news' about Syria attack (26/4/2021) | Irish Examiner, During EU Parliament session, MEP accused of 'fake news' for daring to question OPCW on whistleblower scandal (21/4/2021) | New Cold War.

In a recent sitting of the European Parliament two Irish members, Mick Wallace (pictured left) and Clare Daly (pictured right), attempted to effectively scrutinise a representative of the OPCW, who claimed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people at Douma on 17 April 2018.

Video: Julian Assange's father, John Shipton, interviewed prior to embarking on his "Home Run for Julian" World Tour

On Saturday 24 April, at the iconic A1 Restaurant on Sydney Road in Melbourne's northern suburb of Brunswick, supporters of Julian Assange had lunch to see off Julian Assange's father John Shipton, just before he embarked on his second "Home Run for Julian" tour. Whilst other supporters of Julian Assange were still at lunch inside the A1 Restaurant to the left, John Shipton was interviewed by Sheila Newman. He explained to her, during the interview, embedded below, that, this time, he was going to visit Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland. Then on 17 May they would depart Australia for the United States. They would firstly tour the Eastern states, including New York and Washington, D. C. Thence he would tour California. Then he planned to visit Ireland, Scotland and Britain. He will be speaking to political figures and media figures in those countries.

Syrian strike near Israeli nuclear reactor

Syrian/British PressTV journalist, Richard Medhurst (pictured) reports on Syria's missile strike towards Dimona. Finally, after years of enduring missile strikes from Israel on top of the 10 year old takfiri terrorist invasion than has cost Syria, by one outdated estimate, 400,000 lives, Syria has hit back at the rogue state on its border.

On the passing of HRH Prince Philip - an environmentalist

I think it is timely to highlight the fact that HRH Duke of Edinburgh appears to have had a pretty good understanding of environmental issues and the role of human population numbers in environmental degradation.[1] His reputation for having a curmudgeonly persona went before him, and possibly gave him licence to blurt out his thoughts, uncensored by notions of political correctness. His gratuitous remarks to more or less strangers, regarding their appearances, or rude questions, characterised his multitudinous "gaffes". He was refreshingly "un careful" and honest in interviews, so he spoke of what many refer to as "the elephant in the room" - human population numbers - as though this reality was indeed not only visible but very obvious.[2] He remarked in one interview that where humans are, there is nothing else (!) He was unmeasured in his comments, so his message was clear. He also remarked, in one interview, that no-one wants to talk about it [population]. I have not, so far, found an interview where any interviewer delves deeply into this with him.

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