Miscellaneous comments from 31 July 2013

15 September 2013: Comments closed on this page. Please add further comments . Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 31 May 2013 can be found . If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed by other articles, please add your comments .


July 2013



It has been confirmed with the Animal Justice Party by Yury Aleshin, Chief of the Agriculture Ministry at the Russian Embassy, that Russia has again imposed a full ban on the importation of kangaroo meat from Australia on grounds of fraudulent and deceptive conduct.

Following an investigation and seizure of containers containing 1,860kg of meat it was discovered the meat was sourced from unapproved plants via unregistered companies owned by Macro meats. The decision follows two former bans in 2008 and 2009 after major contamination was detected.

This will help bring this grotesquely brutal, rogue industry to an end. A core goal of the Animal Justice Party for the current election campaign is now well on the way to being achieved.

Both Labor and the Coalition have provided significant financial and lobbying support for the kangaroo killing industry to access overseas markets in recent years. This was in return for votes in rural areas. Until now, Russia was the largest importer of kangaroo meat which was enough to keep this brutal, unregulated and heavily subsidised industry operational.

“The kangaroo killing industry is an international disgrace and has been the main contributor to Australia having the unenviable distinction of the highest rate of land-based wildlife slaughter on the planet”, said AJP President Professor Steve Garlick.

“The end of this industry is now in sight thanks to the Russian Government. But there is no thanks to Labor and the Coalition who actively propped up this industry, or to the Greens who have failed to oppose this brutal industry. The Greens have never supported Australia’s iconic fauna emblem.” said Professor Garlick.

Animal Justice Party members played a key role in providing evidence to Russian Government officials in order to help them in their decision to ban these imports from Australia.

A full list of AJP policies, including its policy on kangaroos and wallabies, and its manifesto can be found at:

For further information please email [email protected] or tweet us .

Media Enquiries: Professor Steve Garlick – AJP President – 0428 880 564
Mark Pearson - lead Senate candidate for NSW – 0417 252 107

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) is proposing to reduce the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25%.

To make up for lost revenue, company tax revenue would be replaced by increasing and expanding the GST so all Australians would pay more for our basic essentials such as food, education and health care.

The Grattan Institute estimates this would add another $3000 a year to average household costs.

They're also proposing to slash penalty rates and reduce the minimum wage for workers, meaning you would have less money in your pocket to pay bills and feed your family. This is to create more "prosperity" for Australia, and create a future surplus.

They would increase immigration too.

It's pure Ponzi economics, a way of getting working Australians to participate in the scheme so that more of their hard-earned saving and wages drift into corporate hands - those at its peak!

Only dodgy and questionable organisations rely on population growth for their revenues. It's about accumulating consumers, as business resources, to boost business profits and opportunities. There's no guarantee of jobs for the migrants they would like to import.

And homebuyers would be invited to pay even more, by introducing a new land tax on home owner-occupiers.

Mitigating an ageing population by adding would mean a further ageing deficit for the next generation. It's Ponzi demographics and is intellectually dishonest.

Financial and corporations, and collectives such as this business "council", make demands and create reports that suit their vested interests.

Thousands of koalas have taken refuge in the vast timber plantations that have emerged across the region, which are increasingly maturing for harvest. In plantations that are used for wood pulp, hundreds of koalas are being killed and suffering from horrific injuries and left to slowly die. A plantation harvesting operation is so mechanised and cost-efficient, it has no time to look for and avoid koalas in trees.

According to the Victorian government's Department of Environment and Primary Industries, "there are significant numbers of koalas across suitable habitat in the South west. The high population densities have resulted in many koalas moving into the blue gum plantations in the region. This is a significant issue for the timber plantation industry that they haven'??t had to address in such magnitude before".

In other words, the koalas are being shredded in Blue Gum plantations because of their own population growth. It's their own fault for over-breeding!

"DEPI is working with the Blue Gum Plantation industry in the south west to make sure it responds humanely and effectively to the influx of koalas onto its plantation estate". It's more like stress on their habitats, fragmentation and lack of it that they are going into the plantations, only to suffer callous carnage during logging.

There are a lot of motherhood statements about caring, and guidelines, and policies for koala management.

"DEPI, in partnership with Wildlife Carers, is developing a training program for operational forestry field staff focusing on koala awareness, signs of distress and handling techniques for those operating in koala environments. This new training will begin in August".

The Victorian government should buy the plantations, at any costs, to save our wildlife. Why would foreign plantation owners care about koalas, any more than palm-oil plantation owners care about orangatans or other native animals.

Environment Minister Mark Butler announced that he approved the mine in Tasmania's Tarkine, which was halted two weeks ago by a Federal Court decision that found his predecessor, Tony Burke, had failed to properly consider official departmental advice about its impact on the Tasmanian devil. The mine’s development was halted by a federal court ruling in May, which found the mine to be unlawful due to its potential impact on Tasmanian devils.

"Environment" Minister Mark Butler is quite comfortable about going down in history as the "Minister for extinction"

There are currently 58 exploration licences granted over the Tarkine. Exploration activities such as drilling, geophysical surveys and pit tests have a substantial impact on the Tarkine through clearing, roading and introduction of contaminants.

The Tarkine is the last stronghold of disease-free Tasmanian Devils. Economic benefits are not to be thwarted by the small problem of protected and threatened Tasmanian Devils! They are disposable, natural assets!

Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said the future of the Tasmanian devil and the tourism potential of the Tarkine were being trashed by Labor for short-term political gain. Also trashed is any legal guarantees and policies that protect even threatened native species.

The conditions of the new approval stipulate that Shree Minerals Limited make contributions to organisations that protect flora and fauna in the area, including a donation of $350,000 to maintain an insurance population of devils in response to the deadly facial tumour disease epidemic. This is pure and futile tokenism considering their mining trucks and heavy equipment will access the area and trample on any flora and fauna inhibiting their access.

The political parties vying for votes are offering a selection of goodies for those who vote for them. However, there's is more at stake than ourselves, and our own concerns and the economy.

National laws require the Australian Government to develop recovery plans for all 112 birds listed as threatened … but there is no dedicated fund to implement them.

This is not a big commitment. Birdlife Australia estimate it would only cost an average of $380,000 for each species. And we know funded recovery plans work – they save birds.

They are urging both major parties to fund the implementation of national recovery plans for threatened birds. They need your help to ensure threatened birds have a voice in this election campaign.

Masao Yoshida, the man in charge of Japan's stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in the wake of the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and tsunami, has died at 58 from oesophageal cancer. Yoshida was called a "hero" for his actions during the disaster that helped curtail the spread of nuclear fallout. Yoshida-one of the "Fukushima 50"- risked his life to do so, even disobeying orders by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), to stop pumping cooling seawater into the overheating reactors. The "Fukushima 50" were the 50 engineers and workers who stayed on at the plant, braving potentially lethal amounts of radiation, in an attempt to restore the damaged cooling system.

At first reprimanded by the company for his disobedience, Yoshida's decision helped to lessen the damage of the meltdown, and later they praised Yoshida for his resolve. In fact, Japan's Prime Minister, Naoto Kan tweeted about Yoshida saying, "I bow in respect for his leadership and decision making." Yoshida stayed at the disabled nuclear facility for nearly nine months, heading up the disaster response. In a December, 2011 statement after Yoshida stepped down from his post as plant head of Fukushima due to illness, Tepco President Naomi Hirose said, "We deeply appreciate his contribution and the way he handled the accident."



For release: 10am Monday July 8, 2013, Adelaide, Australia

Australia hosts the world?s-first vasectomy-athon asking men to take a very
personal action to save the planet, protect their families and do right by

On October 18, 2013 men all over the world, who are ready to exit the gene pool, will dedicate their vasectomy to Planet Earth.

1,000 men in 25 countries will take the ultimate snip to show they care about the growing strain that population is placing on the planet?s resources, their families and themselves.

The world?s most prolific vasectomist, Dr Doug Stein will perform live
vasectomies in front of an audience in Adelaide at the Royal Institution of
Australia (RiAus) to launch the inaugural World Vasectomy Day event
streamed live online. Renowned thinkers, academics and activists will
surround the operating room as they debate the future of our planet.

World Vasectomy Day (WVD) is the creation of Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Jonathan Stack, who while setting out to tell his own story about getting a vasectomy, met legendary Florida-based vasectomist Dr Doug Stein and together, ended up making a film about population on the planet – THE VASECTOMIST. But it didn?t stop there. The journey inspired them to create a movement to raise global awareness of: the dangers an ever-increasing population has on the planet?s finite resources; and vasectomy as a viable solution to prevent
unintended pregnancies.

“We?re asking men who do not want more children to shoulder the burden of family planning, to fight for their family, their community, their country and our planet,” says Stack. “To be like Frodo in ?The Lord of the Rings?! By throwing our fertility into the fire, we?re protecting our women, our families and future generations.”

Australia has one of the highest uptake rates of vasectomy in the world and this trailblazing spirit led the producers to launch WVD in Australia to set the stage for the global conversation. Director of RiAus Paul Willis welcomed the partnership as a prime opportunity to host a world-class knowledge-sharing forum addressing critical science related issues within the context of a highly innovative and ambitious multiplatform public event:
“This event will take vasectomy out of the medical suite and into the homes of people who may never have considered vasectomy. It will be an important way of encouraging people to think about how their ecological footprint leaves its mark on the planet,” says Willis.

The live-streamed vasectomy-athon will feature Dr Stein performing vasectomies while fielding questions from both the live Adelaide audience and an international online audience. Simultaneously, a gathering of diverse thought leaders including population expert and author of The Population Bomb Professor Paul Ehrlich will weigh in on the social, political, cultural and ethical issues raised by the event and Dr Stein?s mission to save the planet, one vasectomy at a time...

“Can vasectomies really make a difference? Mine made a big difference in my life, and to this day I consider it the single most important contribution I have personally made to the wellbeing of future generations, “ says Ehrlich.

World Vasectomy Day is coproduced by Jonathan Stack?s New York-based Gabriel Films and Sydney-based Smith&Nasht – a media production company focused on social issue storytelling founded by Simon Nasht and Dick Smith.

For all media enquiries and interviews contact
Ruth Cross - Producer
ruthecross&nbdp;[ AT ] gmail.com
+61 435 556 339

Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands publicly unveiled his lab-grown burger at a high-profile London taste-testing event. Some people think they have to eat real meat, despite tasty soy and gluten convincing alternatives. Post made his by placing stem cells taken from cows into a culture dish and feeding the cells with fetal calf serum to make them grow. He says that one sample of muscle cells taken from a live cow during a biopsy could create up to 20,000 tons of cultured beef.

It uses stem cell technology to produce up to 10 kilos of beef. No harm is done to the cows. PETA is offering $1 million for the production of in vitro chicken meat to the market.

Animal rights group PETA supports this development. Besides eliminating the need to slaughter billions of animals every year, growing meat in a laboratory would end clear-cutting of forests for livestock production, conserve vast amounts of water and energy, and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions for meat production by 78 to 96 percent.

For those who insist on eating animal flesh, this lab-produced meat is an ideal alternative, environmentally and for a more humane society.

PERTH residents have vented outrage that their power bills will increase to an average of $2000 within three years.
State Budget papers reveal yearly "approved increases" of 7 per cent for electricity prices from 2014 through to at least 2016-17. They have already gone up 4 per cent this year.

This will take the average annual family power bill from $963 to $1998 under Mr Barnett's reign, despite his promise during the March state election campaign to keep electricity prices "at or around the rate of inflation" which is now 2.5 per cent.

Perth has "enjoyed" solid and sustained population growth. Last year alone, 75,000 people moved to the city – and the people transport network catered for an extra five million boardings. Almost one in three renters in the marginal seat of Canning south of Perth, currently held by the Liberals’ Don Randall, are suffering rental stress, and almost 3000 households in Pearce, northeast of Perth are in mortgage stress.

“We have 500 community organisations saying (housing affordability) has reached crisis point, so it’s a national issue,” said Roland Manderson, Deputy Director of Anglicare. Not for profit organisations and charities should not be overwhelmed by demands, from the fallout of government mismanagement of population growth. They are becoming a fixture of our society, of "growth" that displaces people from the economy.

As for electricity, the main cost is the poles and the wires, and they need to be maintained and expanded for a swelling population - blowing out the electricity prices. Having power, water and gas are accepted amenities as a first world country, but now they are biting into hip pockets.

ABC's Vote Compass has identified ending live export as one of the top 30 key issues of concern for Australians this election demonstrates that you are being heard. Today's Nielsen poll, commissioned by WSPA, confirms that ending live export is now a vote winner. The poll claims the issue has support from across the political spectrum with 82 per cent of Liberal voters, 90 per cent of Labor voters and 84 per cent of undecided voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supported a transition away from live exports. The Animal Justice Party are not included in the Vote Compass, and neither is the Stable Population Party! The media focus almost entirely on the Coalition and Labor parties, and even in their public debate, the Greens weren't included. There are 54 parties represented in the Senate these election, but only 2 are getting the lime light. Any valid debate must include the issues that concern the public, not just personalities, and the "economy" and "growth".

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia has emphasised the need for greater recognition of employment-related issues facing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, following the release of the latest labour force datacubes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Last week, the ABS revealed that Australia’s July unemployment rate had remained unchanged at 5.7 per cent, as it was in June 2013. However, yesterday’s datacube release reemphasises the difficulties faced by people born overseas in seeking employment. The unemployment rate of people born in the Middle East or North Africa remains at a high 9.2 per cent, for people born in Sub-Saharan African, the figure is at 7.5 per cent, and for Australians born in South-East Asia, unemployment is at 6.3 per cent. FECCA Chair, Mr Pino Migliorino said that “it is concerning, for all Australians, that while the unemployment rate remains low overall, nothing has improved for workers and job-seekers from many CALD backgrounds.” FECCA has also highlighted that underemployment remains an ongoing issue for many CALD workers who take on positions for which they are overqualified as a result of limited recognition of skills, overseas qualifications and prior work experience, and work very few hours. Mr Migliorino said, “Immigrants are disproportionately represented in areas such as manufacturing, and it’s important to highlight that events such as the closure of manufacturing plants, as we’ve witnessed in recent weeks, means that CALD workers will constitute a very high proportion of Australians left looking for work". The economies of many developed European countries are shrinking. Greece, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Cyprus and Italy are all suffering from high unemployment, austerity and decline. They are facing strong austerity measures. There are limits to any growth in our natural world, and in economies as well. All the evidence now points to Australia's slowing economic growth, and jobs growth. Population growth is presently outstripping jobs growth. France and Germany are relatively stable, while Poland and the UK posted minor growth and industries are heading off shore. Once we have adequate infrastructure, jobs, industry innovation, affordable housing, high quality living standards, and protected green wedges, then there is a place for growth. The "growth" of high rise monolithic towers in our cities, for the advantage of the property developers, could be premature and cause a future dystopia of anonymity, poverty, unemployment and debt.

For more information, See .

The ABC at 1.20PM today, followed by Brisbane's Courier Mail and The Australian that "Contempt of Court" charges against (CFMEU) organiser Bob Carnegie were dismissed by Federal Court Magistrate in Brisbane.

The charges arose as a result of Bob Carnegie attempting to enforce a picket line at the Children's Hospital then under construction in Brisbane against an attempt by the anti-union employer AbiGroup to deny union rights to workers working there.

This is a monumental win for Australian trade unions whose rights have been eroded since former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser criminalised much trade union activity with his Sections 45D and 45E of the Trade Practises Act. Under the legislation, it became a criminal offence for workers to take industrial action against an employer other than their own. So, action by workers in one workplace in solidarity with another work place was forbidden.

(Incidentally, Malcolm Fraser, in recent years, has made great efforts to have himself depicted in the media as a "bleeding heart" friend of refugees, particularly refugees, who opposed trade unions, particularly the Australian Postal and Telegraphic Union (APTU) in Melbourne, and voted for politicians like himself as did many of the Vietnamese refugees who came to Australia in the late 1970's.)

The 'Labor' Governments of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, which ruled Australia from 1983 until 1996 and began the transformation of Australia into a neoliberal "free market" economy, failed to repeal these laws. As a result, Liberal Prime Minister John Howard attempted to break the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) in 1998 having little fear that other unions would give effective support to the MUA.

Fortunately, a determined campaign by the Australian community, including the families of seafarers and wharfies, defeated Howard's attempt to break the union. It was also helped by a the New Zealand Seafarers' Union refusing to work on on a ship which had been loaded by scab labour.

Sadly, as recorded in The Latham Diaries (2005) collaboration by unconscionable Labor politicians, including the current Australian foreign Minister Bob Carr, enabled John Howard to rort his way back into office in 1998, 2001 an 2004.

Following his 2004 election, John Howard made another attempt to break the trade unions when he introduced his "Work Choices" legislation, for which he had obtained no electoral mandate into Federal Parliament. He then spent $124 million of taxpayers' money on propaganda campaign to promote "Work Choices". (Described in of 20 Nov 2007. Sadly, Latham acted no better in 2007 than those of which he was rightly critical in The Latham Diaries. He actually opposed the Trade Union movement's "Your Rights at Work" campaign against "Work Choices" and called on Australians to vote for Howard.)

More than half of Queensland is now officially in drought after two more parts of the state were drought-declared on Friday 16th August, 2013. An amendment bill was introduced into Queensland parliament in March by the State Department of Development, Infrastructure and Industry. The changes allow further vegetation clearance for dryland and irrigated high-value agriculture, to help the government achieve its goal of doubling Queensland’s food production by 2040. Farmers can clear as much land as they want on their own properties. The Committee that approved this decided that the economic benefits for farmers outweighed the environmental impacts. However, University of Queensland researchers have produced evidence for the possible link between land clearing and climate change in south-eastern Australia. The work is part of a broader climate modelling project – involving Land & Water Australia and the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence – being managed by Dr Clive McAlpine. Dr McAlpine’s team have used the CSIRO MARK 3 climate model – the same one used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – to simulate the climate impacts of land clearing over the past 200 years. The modelling results showed a strong correlation between climate and loss of vegetation from pre-European settlement levels, with an average summer temperature increase in eastern Australia of 0.4–2.0°C, and a 4–12 per cent decrease in summer rainfall. A study was commissioned by the conservation group WWF and has been reviewed by independent ecologists. It shows the Queensland Government is placing 2 million hectares of sensitive bushland and wildlife habitat at risk. WWF chief executive officer Dermot O'Gorman says the decision is based on flawed and dangerous information. "These 2 million hectares of bushland are home to around 160 species of endangered and vulnerable native plants and animals, everything from koalas, wallabies, cockatoos to cassowaries," he said. Important areas of native bushland are also still being cleared in urban areas in Queensland, particularly on the urban fringe as suburbs expand. Greed for short-term economic benefits from food and fibre production means that natural values such as forests, native vegetation, natural ecosystems and wildlife are just considered optional "mess" to be cleared away for more farming land. Surely in the 21st century it's time we've moved away from the ignorance of our Colonial forefathers and the way they raped and cleared the land! We have the advantage now of environmental and climate science, ecology, and the lessons from history and hindsight. Due to the promises of wealth and profits from the live export industry, and the "Asian Century", livestock numbers have increased, and now farmers are demanding that national parks be opened up for cattle grazing. There's been a build-up of numbers from the last three years with the better seasons and now the tap's been turned off and farmers have just got more numbers than they can cope with at the moment. When they overstock and overgraze, farmers whinge about native vegetation laws and so their cattle pollute major rivers and graze in fragile parks and reserves. Many growers say they are good stewards of the land but in fact, many are climate sceptics. 95% of land clearing in Queensland was for the purpose of cattle grazing and we all know they help caused the pollution in the Great Barrier Reef. While most people don’t want cattle grazing in national parks, they certainly don’t want to learn of cattle starving to death in barren paddocks. We must live on the "interest" of Nature's abundance without destroying the "Capital" - it's foundation on the web of life that includes function ecosystems, and rich biodiversity. An end of the live export industry will be an end of an animal welfare atrocity, and hopefully the beginning of some more reasonable and sustainable policies that acknowledge Australia as the driest continent on the planet, with the highest mammal extinction rate of modern times.

Australian Wildlife Protection Council will conduct their AGM this Sunday, 25th August 11 am Kindness House, 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy There will be reports from the Treasurer, President and Secretary. There will be reports on important issues regarding Dingoes, Koalas, Leadbeater’s Possums, Dugongs/Turtles and Kangaroos etc *** NOMINATIONS FOR ALL POSITIONS OF AWPC COMMITTEE ARE OPEN– Craig Thompson and Hans Brunner will give SPECIAL Proposition Reports, along with Cienwen Hickey regarding the ACT Kangaroo “Cull” 2013- 2014 Voiceless Grant Application 2013 AWARD to James Fitzgerald The Guest Speaker Prof Steve Garlick Leader of the Animal Justice Party, followed by DISCUSSION Q and A PLEASE COME for a special afternoon, open for anyone interested in wildlife. Bring a mug and some food to share. More information contact Maryland Wilson on

From TV (). See also: of 21 August 2013 by Stephen Lendman, (SANA) of 21 August 2013, of 21 August 2013.

Wildly varying reports have emerged of recent chemical weapons use in Syria, with hundreds allegedly killed in the latest attack.

This comes on the same day that the UN inspectors arrive in Damascus to investigate allegations of use of toxic arms.

Initially, Al-Arabiya posted news of 280 victims on Twitter. Later, the news outlet upgraded the figure up to 1,188 victims quoting the Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had a much lower figure, claiming dozens of people were killed, including children.

News agencies such as Reuters and AP mostly put the numbers of victims at hundreds, but say that reports can't be independently verified.

For more, RT talks to reporter and international affairs analyst Patrick Henningsen.Wildly varying reports have emerged of recent chemical weapons use in Syria, with hundreds allegedly killed in the latest attack.

This comes on the same day that the UN inspectors arrive in Damascus to investigate allegations of use of toxic arms.

Initially, Al-Arabiya posted news of 280 victims on Twitter. Later, the news outlet upgraded the figure up to 1,188 victims quoting the Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had a much lower figure, claiming dozens of people were killed, including children.

News agencies such as Reuters and AP mostly put the numbers of victims at hundreds, but say that reports can't be independently verified.

For more, RT talks to reporter and international affairs analyst Patrick Henningsen.Wildly varying reports have emerged of recent chemical weapons use in Syria, with hundreds allegedly killed in the latest attack.

This comes on the same day that the UN inspectors arrive in Damascus to investigate allegations of use of toxic arms.

Initially, Al-Arabiya posted news of 280 victims on Twitter. Later, the news outlet upgraded the figure up to 1,188 victims quoting the Free Syrian Army.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had a much lower figure, claiming dozens of people were killed, including children.

News agencies such as Reuters and AP mostly put the numbers of victims at hundreds, but say that reports can't be independently verified.

For more, RT talks to reporter and international affairs analyst Patrick Henningsen.

See also: of 23 Aug 2013.

Melbourne claimed the No 1 position as the world's most liveable city from Vancouver in 2011, after the two cities shared first position in 2002. It's a damning reflection on the problems that swelling cities are causing, due to global overpopulation! Vancouver now lies in third place with the Austrian capital Vienna second. This is with the background of a "crisis point" in the number of evictions in Wyndham, Melbourne's fastest growing suburb. Police are executing eviction warrants on 22 rental properties per month as tenant, such as single mothers, who fail to pay rents. The number of evictions has spiked 40 per cent since 2011, to more than 263 evictions during financial year 2012-13. Wyndham has some of the lowest rents and the highest rates of unemployment. The Economist Intelligence Unit's liveability survey probably would not value the "liveabilty" of our city as the residents would, especially in light of the massive population growth, costs of living and unaffordable housing! They probably see the housing bubble, deliberately being kept alive by record-breaking population growth, as a boom! The only political party really addressing housing affordability is the Stable Population Party. Releasing more land and easing up planning zones, and caving in to population pressure, is not a solution as already our heavy debt for basic infrastructure would continue to blow out to more $billions, which will leave an intergenerational debt for future generations to pay. What's "good" for the economy is not necessarily in the interests of the participants! Ironically, after more than two decades of Australia's economic growth, our living standards are being drained away and diluted by having to share what resources we have with more people!

Roughly 14 years ago, Professor William Mitchell of the University of Newcastle devised a far-sighted scheme to provide a full-time job to every Australian who needed one.[1]. All the jobs identified would have provided useful services to other Australians or have produced useful artifacts or building. The scheme was fully costed so that it could easily have been run for, at most, a modest additional outlay in Government finances.

William Mitchell published his ideas in a large book and was able to attract a great deal of interest in, and support for, them. As a result, sufficient resources were obtained to enable him to set up what became known as the (CofFEE) at the University of Newcastle.

The program promoted by CofFEE was a program that any political party, which genuinely intended to advance the welfare of its constituents, would have grasped with both hands. Any party, with sufficient profile, would have had no trouble winning support for it, thereby increasing its own electoral support base.

However, all the political parties in Australia, with a profile sufficiently high as to be able to gain support for the CofFEE program from the electorate -- Labor, the Liberals, the Nationals and the Greens -- have clearly been co-opted into supporting vested interests. So none of those parties took it up.

That need not have been the end of the CoFEE program. Eventually a political movement, which was truly interested in making Australia a better place, would have emerged. Such an organisation would have recognised the merit of CofFEE program and would have adopted it as part of its electoral platform.

However, it seems that those running the CofFEE centre have themselves become co-opted by vested interests. Rather than being an outgoing organisation, seeking to promote its program, for example in the current Federal election campaign, it has allowed its profile to drop to the point where it is barely visible.

Any who do learn of CofFEE, will not find it easy to participate should they want to. The itself, which I am sure could once be freely obtainable, seems only to be available through a and costs an extortionate £76.50 (not even $A?) as the cheaper "on-line price" or £85.00, otherwise.


1. I don't remember clearly when I first heard of CofFEE, I think, on a radio program. I suspect this is because of the diffuse axonal brain damage I suffered in a road accident in 2010, however, a on the the web-site implies that the CofEE, which is about to have its 14th National conference, started that long ago.

Campaign Update 29/08/2013 We’re frustrated. The environment and threatened native species have barely rated a mention in this election. Help us get threatened species firmly on the agenda of the major parties. Some of the 20 birds listed as critically endangered are at extremely high risk of extinction on the next Australian Government’s watch. Until now, both major parties have completely ignored the issue. Last week , the Coalition announced that it would fund a Commissioner for Threatened Species if elected in September. Whilst this was a welcome addition to the national conversation, it’s an empty promise unless backed by a strong fiscal commitment to fund individual species recovery programs. The ALP too, have yet to commit to a fund dedicated to implementing recovery plans. The issue is finally getting some attention. Now we need your help to build on this momentum. Both of the major parties must step up and make a commitment to funding for threatened species recovery plans. We’re not asking for a big commitment. We estimate it would only cost an average of $380,000 for each of our most endangered bird species. And we know funded recovery plans work – they save birds. BirdLife Australia can only do this with your help. We need you to add your voice to our call. Please sign this petition, get involved and join our campaign to receive regular supporter updates. Please share this note as widely as you can with your friends, family and social media networks. Ask them to get on board and give threatened birds a voice. Yours sincerely, Paul Sullivan Chief Executive Officer

Working as a Registered Migration Agent (RMA) can mean assisting clients in making one of the most important decisions of their lives: helping them migrate to Australia. Australia’s strong economy, world class higher education system, multicultural society and stable governance makes it a highly attractive destination for migrants, and in an increasingly interconnected world, demand for the services provided by RMAs has never been higher. The Migration Act 1958 and its associated Regulations govern Agents’ registration requirements and Code of Conduct, while the profession itself is regulated by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). Opportunities Practicing as a Registered Migration Agent (RMA) is challenging and rewarding and suits detail oriented professionals with good people skills and the drive to develop and maintain requisite legal knowledge within an ever changing legislative and regulatory field. New agents can find employment with an existing organisation or strike out on their own as sole practitioners, and while there are large migration firms, most Agents work in a small business. RMA incomes vary widely, with the majority of practitioners reporting annual earnings between $50,000 and $80,000. Becoming an RMA Under the Migration Act 1958, anyone who uses, or purports to use, knowledge of, or experience in migration procedures to provide advice or assistance to a person wishing to obtain a visa needs to become registered as a migration agent. Registration is governed by the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority, with requirements including: Being at least 18 years of age; Being of “good character”; Holding Australian citizenship or permanent residency, or New Zealand citizenship with a special category visa; and Holding a current Australian legal practicing certificate or a Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice. To find out more about about the process of becoming an agent, the requirements or the Graduate Certificate in Australian Migration Law and Practice, we recommend you visit the website of the MARA. Costs of becoming a RMA The fees commonly accrued when entering the migration advice profession include: Graduate Certificate course fees of $7500 - $9000 An initial registration fee of $1760 Building a professional library costs from $420 (not for profit) and from $730 (commercial agents) Professional Indemnity Insurance for a minimum cover of $250,000 which costs about $400, along with costs for CPD courses, as well as the normal costs associated with running a business. Agents should also be aware of the ongoing costs required to maintain their registration, which is required to be renewed annually with the MARA. The Practice Ready Program (PRP) The Practice Ready Program (PRP) is a practical course for agents in their first year of registration, designed to enhance the knowledge and professionalism of the migration advice profession. All applicants for initial registration with the Office of the MARA after 1 September 2011 ?will be required to complete this course prior to repeat registration, with exemptions available for agents holding valid Legal Practising Certificates (LPC) or membership with a recognised professional accounting body. In its initial offering, the PRP will be delivered by by the MIA and Fragomen Australia and will be worth eight CPD points and include agents' first year mandatory requirements. The MIA's PRP will cost $1995 and include membership. For more information on course delivery, cost, availability and assessment, please visit the MIA's dedicated PRP page as well as the PRP section on the MARA website, which also includes an information sheet and FAQs. The MIA The MIA is the peak body representing the migration advice profession representing over 2000 Members and supporting the profession through a broad range of services designed to assist Agents and promote the profession in general. The MIA provides assistance to those studying for the Graduate Certificate through an online Student Forum, the publication of a number of useful texts and subscriptions to a selection MIA services free of charge. Services and benefits are available to full Members include an active Member Forum, discounted CPD costs, regular information sessions and social functions, high level liaising with governmental and industry bodies, weekly news bulletins and legislative and regulatory changes alerts as they happen, a database of useful governmental and community contacts and much more. Click to join the MIA today. Immigration to Australia has become a career path, and is an attractive and lucrative industry - without democratic support!

No Maccas in Tecoma. >

Last weekend the Tecoma community did a singing "flashmob" of a McDonald's store at food court in Melbourne. It was cheeky, entertaining and pretty fun -- but most importantly it shows McDonald's we are not going down without a fight. See also  .

NATIONAL DINGO PRESERVATION AND RECOVERY PROGRAM DINGO CARE NETWORK 2013 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research from the Australian Museum. Ms Jennifer Parkhurst of the NDPRP and Dr Ernest Healy of the DCN extended their appreciation and congratulations to those included in the winning research team: Professor Chris Johnson - University of Tasmania, Dr Michael Letnic - University of New South Wales, Dr Euan Ritchie - Deakin University, Dr Arian Wallach - James Cook University, and Mr Adam O'Neill, Evelyn Downs Station in South Australia. The team of researchers has conducted an impressive body of ground-breaking research into the positive ecological role of the dingo in Australia, and has made a major contribution to winding back the entrenched prejudice against the dingo that has been used to justify dingo persecution and mismanagement since the colonial era. Arian Wallach, team member, said: ‘Dingoes are currently persecuted across Australia, mostly with the use of 1080 poison, with catastrophic consequences for biodiversity and for the dingoes themselves. The selection of our team's work on the crucial ecological role of dingoes is hugely uplifting, and indicates a beginning of a shift in our relationship with big predators and wild nature.’  As stated by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, which sponsored the prize, the research has shown that, 'Far from being vermin, Australia's dingoes sustain biodiversity and can help land managers control invasive species'. The Office further highlighted the research findings in stating, 'ecosystems with dingoes have better vegetation condition and more diverse and abundant populations of small native animals'. The NDPRP and the DCN also congratulated the Australian Museum and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for standing their ground in making this very deserving award. They did so in the face of attempts to undermine their decision by at least one department of primary industries, where entrenched anti-dingo prejudice, and resistance to scientific evidence, still prevails. This award is a vindication of the very high standard of the body of research conducted by the winning researchers over a long period. The NDPRP and the DCN believe it is unfortunate that recent efforts to discredit the winning research have been made by a small number of researchers associated with the pastoral industry, whose independence is questionable. The Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (IACRC), in particular, an organisation which includes powerful pastoral industry stakeholders, attracts particular scrutiny in this regard. Ms Parkhurst and Dr Healy stated: 'The NDPRP and the DCN believe that The IACRC should not be engaged in research into the ecological role of the dingo, as the conflict of interest it faces is too great and its independence too open to question. Certainly, no public money should be given over to the IACRC for dingo-related research. Standards of public accountability should require that public money be awarded to researchers who are, and are seen to be, genuinely independent.' The high-calibre, independent research conducted by the Eureka award winners foreshadows new ways forward in reconciling conservation and pastoral industry interests. This potential should not be undermined by misguided attempts to breathe new life into historically outdated anti-dingo prejudice. Jennifer Parkhurst –NDPRP Ernest Healy –DCN Contact Arian Wallach: Adjunct Lecturer School of Marine & Tropical Biology James Cook University Ecologist at Evelyn Downs Station South Australia Phone: +61 8 86707991 Email: Skype: wallach.arian1 Website: 

and present ...

Software Freedom Day 2013 : Free Software for a Free Society

Software Freedom Day is an international event celebrating of Free Software. Starting in 2004 in now hosts over a thousand events in over forty countries.

The Melbourne event will be held on Saturday, September 21st, 9.30 to 17.00 at 110 Grey Street East Melbourne (Melbourne Unitarian Church hall)

It's about 5 minutes from Jolimont Station , or a brisk 10 minute walk from Parliament station or West Richmond. There's plenty of parking at the site as well!


9.30 Introduction: Video Welcome from Dr. Richard Stallman
10.00 Andrew Pam, Content Creation with Free Software Tools
11.00 Pat Sunter, Free and Open Source In Public Decision-Making
12.00 Adam Bolte, Protecting Yourself Online
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Ben McGuiness, Pirate Party's Policy on Copyright and Patents
15.00 Kathy Reid, The Orgnisation of Free Software Communities
16.00 Lev Lafayette, Beyond Software - Steps Towards A Free Society

Plus plenty of t-shirts, software and other paraphrenalia giveaways, videos and a free lunch (with open sauce).

WOW! That's the most intelligent idea to come out of the ALP in a long while: Kelvin Thomson as ALP leader. See Thomson is not just one of the most able of the Labor MPs but surely their deepest thinker. See the Wiipedia page on Kelvin Thomson, and particularly its concluding section on him as Political Theorist. Signatures on the petition page, plus tweets and emails about the idea would all help give the idea momentum.

Julia Gillard has a new job as an honorary visiting professor at her alma mater, the University of Adelaide. The former prime minister and the university said they were delighted with the appointment. Ms Gillard said she was “absolutely delighted” to be associated in such a meaningful way with the university, where she studied law and arts from 1979 to 1981. It was there that she valued the experience that developed her career in politics. Ironically, while in her time as PM, she slashed $2.3 billion from university funding. There would be many students "delighted" to be able to study there and be supported through a wide choice of subjects, courses, facilities, small classes and amenities, but this is not the case now. The cuts were to help pay for the Gonski school reforms. Higher Education Minister Kim Carr has accused former Prime Minister Julia Gillard of causing Australia National University to cut 230 jobs. It's bizarre the Julia Gillard is now back in the system that benefited her, at a time when fees were lower and access to quality education was easier.

It seems that many school children are not getting the basics, yet for years now Australia has promoted the idea that everyone needs to go to university. Consequently universities now provide 'schooling' and 'training' where schools and trade schools used to. The corporations dictate what comes out of the universities in terms of information and bias, since universities now expect research to make money. So we have lost a lot of the disinterested science and political science that we could once rely on from universities. Maybe decent schooling - if that could be an outcome from Gonski, would be more valuable than university places. However we are also selling off university places to foreign students. This is another aspect of the commercial race downwards, which makes it so much harder for anyone Australian to access real research opportunities.

Northern Territory cattle producers say Indonesia's decision to buy farmland in northern Australia could come as a lifeline to the industry recovering from live export suspension. Buying one billion hectares of Australian farmland would be cheaper than relying on live exports. This is Indonesia's solution to be "self-sufficient" for their own food supplies - they parasitically buy our land! Under the plan, the cattle would be bred in Australia and transported to local feedlots. They could by-pass our stringent "animal welfare" standards, and the total land, stock and barrel would belong to Indonesia! The Territory's cattle industry is still recovering from the former Labor government's suspension of live exports for a month in 2011 because of animal welfare concerns. So, instead of addressing the situation, it's a case of simply selling the "chickens" to the "fox", to be in charge of. Some producers say they can't argue with the idea, and some struggling producers will benefit. Good prices for the land will solve their economic problems - for an industry that promised high returns, but void of ethics. The proposed cattle station - four times the size of the ACT - could produce around 5 per cent of the export market. Our species extinction rate is being threatened by cattle grazing, exotic species and trampling. "But it's also a very strong recognition that Australia has a role to play in their food security." Since when was it our responsibility to secure the food supplies of Indonesia? Australia's burgeoning population is threatening our food bowls, and we have the driest continent, a land vulnerable to extreme weather, and record extinction rates. Selling off our sovereign land, under the banner of Indonesia's "self sufficiency", is allowing a land-grab for short term economic benefits at the cost of abandoning animals to suffer horrific slaughter methods, and it's a betrayal of our sovereign interests.

California has 157 endangered or threatened species, looming water shortages, eight of the 10 most air-polluted cities in the country and 725 metric tons of trash washing up on its coast each year. California also has 38 million people, up 10 percent in the last decade, including 10 million immigrants. They own 32 million registered vehicles and 14 million houses. By 2050, projections show 51 million people living in the state, more than twice as many as in 1980. Usually linking population growth and climate change, or any other problem, is taboo. However, a consensus statement issued in May by scientists at Stanford University and signed by more than 1,000 scientists warned that "Earth is reaching a tipping point." The Sixth Mass Extinction is evidence that humans have already exceeded human capacity. "The big connector is how many people are on earth," said Anthony Barnosky, a UC Berkeley integrative biologist. The world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by mid-century. The addition will be greater than the global population of 1950. "By the time today's children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that the Earth's life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged." says John Harte, a UC Berkeley ecosystem scientist. The most obvious sign is climate change. 100 million tonnes of synthetic materials are pervading the planet. Humans appropriate about 40% of the Earth's biomass, and 40% of the land for farms, cities and other structures. Humans appropriate more than half the world's fresh water. Most environmental groups still keep clear of the subject. It's easier to "blame the poor", or capitalistic societies for consuming too much. Conservatives and religious groups condemn family planning and abortions. Falling birth rates in some countries have lulled demographers into complacency, but humans are still adding 84 million more people each year. More than 40 percent of the world's 208 million pregnancies each year are unplanned, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a family planning research group. "What many of us really worry about is that there will be this crash landing, from a planet with 9 billion, rapidly down to 5 or so," said ecologist Harte. 15 September 2013: Comments closed on this page. Please add further comments .