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Sheila Newman's blog

About Sheila Newman, social researcher


Click on "About Sheila Newman, social researcher" to read more and for links to books by Sheila and reviews.

It is hard to label me conventionally because I really write in a new paradigm, where social and physical sciences come together.

For sociologists an early start-point for my work was Catton & Dunlap. My first research thesis compared population, energy and environment policies in Australia and France. For biologists and zoologists, my theory is compatible with Richard Dawkins' work.

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

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

Fire, cladding & high-rise in Melbourne Australia - Nerrida Pohl interview

Australia's construction industry is corrupt, but protected by government. This has left building consumers in a terrible situation. A current scandal is that they are being forced to pay billions for builders' mistakes in a situation where no building over 3 stories is insured. This video is of an interview with Nerrida Pohl about the dangers of inflammable cladding on skyscrapers, using her own building as an example. The location affords views of similar problems on surrounding skyscrapers in South Yarra. It also illustrates the irony of having one's view built out, even when one lives in a skyscraper, as massive population growth an deregulation accelerate infilling and raise heights. Nerrida was a speaker at the Victorian Building Action Group AGM this year.

Video: "Lies, spin and secrecy" - How government & the law mistreat Australian building consumers

"People end up with nothing because they really don't believe we have a system as bad as we do." Consumers are unprotected in Australia's building disaster. "You may have a house that's being demolished, but you still have a block of land. If you've got any superannuation or anything in the bank, at least hang on to that." Anne Paten of Victorian Building Action Group (VBAG) talks about how the system that's supposed to help building consumers actually bleeds the victims of the industry even more. People qualify for insurance, but never get the money. They go to VCAT and are sent away with nothing. The results are bankruptcy, divorces, and suicides. Substantial reports and inquiries are removed from the internet. Australians need to realise that the government won't help them; they have to join together and help each other.

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

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

Bernard Salt and the population growth burden on Victorians and its developer beneficiaries

"Not only is Geelong now effectively subsumed into the greater growth orbit of the Melbourne conurbation, but there are surprise population surges in some of the state’s remoter provincial cities and communities. I am so excited about this.” (Bernard Salt, "Victoria reimagined from basket case beginnings," The Australian 8 August 2019.)

Recovering diabetics run new risk of overdose on old medication dosages

Medical professionals have recently published guides to reducing insulin and other diabetes medications for patients on low carbohydrate diets because many of these patients are suddenly getting better. Their improvement and sometimes remission carries a diminishing need for insulin or oral antihyperglycaemics. If doctors and nurses fail to realise this, their patients risk overdose, with potentially rapidly fatal results - and not just with where insulin is concerned. This means that a new approach to diet for both main types[1] of diabetic - Types 1 and 2 - is making a big difference. In some cases it is effecting complete remission.

Victoria's giant 'legalised building fraud' and the Victorian Building Action Group

A couple of days ago, when I was driving from Melbourne to Brisbane and the only radio I could get was the Jon Faine Show on 774, I heard Jon on the subject of the Dan Andrews Victorian Government's intention to subsidise recladding of unsafely clad buildings in Victoria by the sum of $AUD200m, half of which was to come from taxes on the public and the other half sought from the federal government - but not from the perpetrators themselves. Jon put to a woman he was interviewing that she might give some acknowledgement to the Dan Andrews Government that this was a positive act. I was really impressed by the woman's response, which put Victoria's continuing building fraud and the government's facilitation of it in proportion and Jon Faine in his place at the same time. With interest I scribbled down the name of the organisation she represented and looked it up when I got to Brisbane. It is the Victorian Building Action Group Inc (https://www.vbag.org.au/) and it describes itself as "the only consumer organization in Australia representing the interests of all building consumers." Anne Paten is the President of the Victorian Building Action Group Inc.

Ancestor worship and why we should revive it

Ancestor worship, or the belief that your ancestors look after you and live among you, seems like a good kind of belief to me, when I consider the anonymity and general invisibility of the old and the dead in modern Australian society. Although money can sometimes buy you a big send-off, like the truly grandiose one for a big sports-mogul the other day, it may inspire resentment: "Seems kind of unfair," commented an elderly friend, "When you and I shall be forgotten, absent any fanfare."

Submissions sought: Committee to scrutinise the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced an inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press. The inquiry was referred by the Attorney-General, The Hon Christian Porter MP, on 4 July 2019, for the PJCIS to inquire into the Terms of Reference. (Details inside.) This is a reaction to public and press reaction over the raid by the Australian federal police of the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, to find out how she had come by a leaked plan to allow government spying on Australians. A warrant from an ACT magistrate gave police authority to search the home, computer and mobile phone of the journalist. News Corp Australia called this a "dangerous act of intimidation targeted at public interest reporting." Smethurst had authored an article about heads of defence and home affairs ministries in Australia having talked about "draconian new powers to allow the Australian Signals Directorate to spy on Australian citizens for the first time. Under the mooted plan, spies would be allowed to secretly access emails, bank accounts and text messages with approval from the defence and home affairs ministers." See inside for how you can contribute - by 26 July 2019. Consider how Australian governments have failed to protect Julian Assange in the name of a perceived right to conceal war crimes.

Thinking of buying an apartment in Australia?

Did you know that you cannot insure buildings over three stories high in Australia? On Sunday 16 June apartment owners and renters were locked out of a 122 unit apartment tower called Mascot Towers, in Sydney. Due to serious structural weaknesses, residents were rendered treeless like so many koalas, and with little more assistance. In Melbourne on Sunday 23 June, residents and shop owners in a 237 apartment building known as "Liberty Tower" were told to leave because the flooding had cut power throughout the building and damaged the lift. Apparently the water rose to 1.5m in some parts of the basement.

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

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

Authorities removing legal protection from nature reserves: study

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

Only corrupt NGOs need apply for $75,000,000 US regime-change program

May 28, 2019 U.S. Government Seeks NGO Help For Removing Iran From Syria. The U.S.Department of State is offering a grant of $75,000,000 to non-government-organizations to help it to further meddle in Syria. The grant SFOP0005916 - Supporting Local Governance and Civil Society in Syria will go to "Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education".

Julian Assange in prison hospital - grave concerns - WikiLeaks

Wikileaks statement: Wikileaks has grave concerns about the state of health of our publisher, Julian Assange, who has been moved to the health ward of Belmarsh prison. Mr Assange's health had already significantly deteriorated after seven years inside the Ecuadorian embassy, under conditions that were incompatible with basic human rights. The United Nations twice found him to have been arbitrarily detained and called on the United Kingdom to honor its committments under international law and free him. The UK's refusal to abide by UN rulings, and its subsequent treatment of Mr. Assange since his arrest, presents serious questions about the UK's standing as a human rights-abiding nation.

How overpopulation destroys fine art, engagement and fun, in Australia

Overdevelopment and overpopulation in Australia wreck a lot of things, but some of you might not have thought about how they wreck art.

The other day a very 'successful' Australian landscape artist, who sells his paintings for several thousand each, observed that thirty years ago he used to sell his paintings for an average of $3000 each and he still does. "Problem is," he observed, "My house, which cost $60,000 then, is now worth close to a million. Paintings have not gone up. What does it mean? It means that, where I used to make a comfortable living from my paintings, I'm now obliged to run classes in my garage, and it's increasingly difficult to make ends meet. "

Video: Kelvin Thomson on Australia's magic pudding population myth - SPA public seminar

“Face up to the fact that the Liberal, Labor and Green Parties are not going to move on this issue on anything other than the point of an electoral gun, and conduct ourselves accordingly.” We have to deal with the magic pudding myth which says the world's poor can achieve western standards of living that people living in western countries will be able to more or less maintain their standards of living, that we can maintain our current rate of population growth, and we can protect the environment. It is a lie. You've heard Al Gore talking about climate change and inconvenient truth? Well, this is a convenient lie. It enables environmental groups to duck the population issue, but it is a monstrous and deceitful lie. Researchers who've looked at this say there could be a European standard of living for everyone, with sustainable use of our natural resources, provided the earth's population was no more than two billion. Kelvin also suggests that we ask political candidates if they would support Australia sponsoring a population treaty at the United Nations that committed each country to stabilising its own population. (Speech made at SPA Brisbane Seminar 27 April 2019).

'We need to save his life' - Pamela Anderson after visiting Assange in prison

Please write to Julian. He is 23.5 hrs day (sometimes all day) in a prison cell, without even access to the prison library. He reads the letters he gets, although there is a delay in delivery, probably due to their going through some censorship or security process. The international public need to greatly ramp up their voice against what is happening here.

Below are the 'Sentencing Remarks' of Judge Deborah Taylor. She gives no consideration to the fact that Assange exposed war crimes, nor to the fact that he is pursued by a US Government responsible for those war crimes. At the end she says his sentence is subject to any further legal claims - and we know that means the US Government. In this she seems to me like a Mafioso lawyer delivering someone to the mob, or to the Gestapo. The Australian Government stands silently looking on, an abject colonial body.
WRITE TO:
Mr Julian Assange
DOB: 3/07/1971
HMP Belmarsh
Western Way
London SE28 0EB
UK

Steven Armstrong: Sustainable Oz Candidates need funding help and you need political alternatives

Steven Armstrong is a prospective Sustainable Australia Party candidate for the upcoming federal elections. He has run before and has a history of hard work on the issue of sustainability and the unsustainable problem of our rapid population growth in Australia. His political experience and skill has grown along with his experience. Although Steven has financed previous candidatures, the cost of merely registering to run in the election has suddenly leapt from $350 to $2000 under the LNP coalition. This can only be in order to reduce democratic opposition. So please consider helping Steven in his gofundme campaign! He needs $2000.

Anti-Dad review of family law - Senator Spender statement

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

The Australian government must act NOW to bring Julian Assange back to Australia!

After six and a half years illegal detention, the courageous and visionary Australian journalist Julian Assange, founder of the Wikileaks news service, has had his asylum inside the London Ecuadorian Embassy revoked and has been arrested by the British police to face trial for skipping bail back in 2012, a charge which he could only be jailed for a few years at most. However, there remains a serious risk that the United States could seek to have Julian Assange extradited to face, in its rigged judicial system, charges which have suspiciously remained secret until now: helping whistleblower Chelsea Manning crack a password to leak classified US documents.

See SEP (Australia) rallies demand freedom for Julian Assange (13/4/19) | WSWS for report of protest of Friday 12 April. -17/4/19: Protest Friday 4pm Victorian State Library in Melbourne and at 1pm in Martin Place, Sydney for Julian Assange: Bring yourself, friends, placards and any literature you may have to inform members of the public of why they need to act to help prevent the deportation to the United States, of Julian Assange, who is not even a United States citizen and has never been there!

Other recent articles on CanDoBetter about Julian Assange:
Julian Assange is Guilty Only of Revealing the Evil Soul of the US Empire (17/4/19), Video: Crosstalk- "Free speech threatened" Political, legal concepts & ramifications of Assange case (17/4/19), Explainer: what charges does Julian Assange face, and what’s likely to happen next? Article by Holly Cullen (13/4/19), Canadian Peace Alliance Statement on the Arrest of Julian Assange (12/4/19), Australian Government silent as Julian Assange manhandled out of Ecuadorian Embassy by London Police (11/4/19), Video: People power delays Ecuador's asylum betrayal of Julian Assange (9/4/19), An Open Letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison: Please use the powers vested in you to end Julian Assange's cruel ordeal (7/4/19), Shame on Australia! French Assange protest outside Australian embassy, Paris (6/4/19), Censorship: Are we all still Charlie Hebdo? Christchurch and Julian Assange (6/4/19), You can help make the Australian Government act to free Julian Assange (5/4/19).

Australian Government silent as Julian Assange manhandled out of Ecuadorian Embassy by London Police

The President of Ecuador, on flimsy pretext, has thrown Julian Assange to the wolves. Today Ruptly footage shows Assange being manhandled by several police from the embassy into a police vehicle. Julian had long hair and a long beard and was shouting, "The UK must resist," and something about "the Trump administration." From somewhere else, the Ecuadorian President delivered a prepared speech to cameras from his wheelchair, stating, among other things, that the UK Government has agreed in writing that Julian would not be sent anywhere he might be tortured or face the death penalty. Wikileaks has said, however, that Assange has been arrested for 'extradition to the United States for publishing'.

Dogged researchers show dingoes keep feral cats in check

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

Shame on Australia! French Assange protest outside Australian embassy, Paris

Video: French demonstrate outside the Australian embassy in Paris, calling for the cowardly unprincipled Australian Government to help Julian Assange. "Where are the 'We are all Charlie' freedom of the press demonstrators?" they cry.

Censorship: Are we all still Charlie Hebdo? Christchurch and Julian Assange

Not so long ago the middle classes were marching enthusiastically all over the western world to defend freedom of the press, after the massacre of journalists at Charlie Hebdo. "We are all Charlie!" they cried. Now there is hardly a peep about Julian Assange's cruel and unusual punishment for telling the world of war-crimes. Certainly no mass marches in the street. What's the difference? The mainstream press is singing a different song. It suited them to have people marching in the streets about Charlie Hebdo. Now, for some reason, it doesn't.

Jay Hanson, founder of Peak Oil series, dies after diving

I have just learned, regretfully, of the death of Jay Hanson. My first report was that it occurred in a diving accident. Subsequently it has been clarified that he fell ill after diving, and died that night. Jay Hanson lived in Hawaii. He was the founder of multiple energy resources or peak oil lists from the 1990s, starting with the incredibly popular Dieoff website and DieOff list which looked at peak oil, population numbers, and scarcity. An intermediate list was Killer Ape-Peak Oil. The last list of which we are aware was [America2Point0] which Hanson closed 'until further notice' on 20 December 2016. Hanson was teetotal for many years and studied evolutionary psychology. He believed that humans would be ultimately unable to deal with resource scarcity or human induced climate change because they could not cope with major environmental and evolutionary problems involving themselves.

Weedy Sea Dragon in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia

This is a photography by Freddy Leong, which has been used to illustrate a comment notifying an act at the Frankston Music Festival on 28 April 2019.

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