Miscellaneous comments from 1 March 2010

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Melbourne's property market record sales last week is wonderful news for investors, real estate agents and land developers, not to mention all the revenue in stamp duty for the State Government. All this population growth, manipulated by Kevin Rudd's fetish for a "big Australia", has created a land and housing "boom", and people in this growth industry are becoming wealthy. An average house in Victoria will rake in over $20,000 in stamp duty, without any services provided and without any benefits for the payee! Median house prices in Ivanhoe Banyule, a comfortable middle class suburb for families, has soared from a median price of about $50,000 in 1980 to over $1 million now! Renters over the past decade have tended to pay a noticeably larger proportion of their incomes in rent than they did 25 years ago. We are not really any richer when the price of housing rises, but it is making people more vulnerable to homelessness and mortgage stress. What is creating a boom for our economy is dividing our society between those who are benefiting from growth, and those who are not! A basic need is being exploited as a business, to make maximise profits. According to The Greens, in the last financial year, the federal Labor and Liberal parties have accepted millions of dollars in donations from lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies, hotels, financial institutions and property developers. With these vested interests, those benefiting from population growth are making the policies to continue the benefits rolling in! We used to be a land of home-owners, the lucky country, but no any more! Even the working-class could afford to buy their own homes, but now even professionals are being locked out due to excessive competition. Where is the justice if a few elite become wealthy at the expense of the general public, the taxpayers, the existing population of Australia? The demand for housing, caused by population growth driven mainly by immigration, is displacing young people and families from the housing market.

Recently, I made enquiries about obtaining an Agents Representative Licence - in order to be employed by a real estate agent. I had a firm in mind and the Principal of this franchise was prepared to give me his valuable time, presumably in order to see if I was recruitment material or not. We arranged to meet at his Melbourne City office (very plush) - and I learnt a few things while I was there. * The bottom has dropped out of the first home buyers market because the first home owners boost has been removed. Not news, but I wondered then - and I wonder now, why first home buyers were so short sighted in regard to this phony bonus. The bonus hardly - if at all, covered the Stamp Duty and fluctuating interest rates scare me - but didn't deter the thousands of people signing up for new loans. ... So, a lot more people are being forced back into or remain in - the rental market. The landlords and real estate agents don't really mind, either way: its now an investers market again - and Property Managers are earning upto $80,000 a year to manage the burgeoning rental stock. ... Once upon a time banks wouldn't allow borrowers to extend themselves - in repayments, at any rate - for more than 25% of their income. What's the % of a borrower's income now, to service a loan, does anyone know? Back to the story: the Principal of this real estate franchise had two offices, one in the suburbs and one in the city. He asked me if I had a preference for one area or another. I umned and ahh'd; I had thought that I would be selling houses to home-owners and thereby derive a sublimated nesting - by - proxy - pleasure from seeing everyone nicely settled. The city though, had other temptations; much higher -priced dwellings for investers with quite rapid turnover, generating much better commission! The Devil take me! I was - with suave and effective flattery - being persuaded that I would do well in the city arena. To summarise: The market has changed, with no drop-off, without taking a breath - the Boom Town Rats - with apologies to the musicians - are marching on - ever hungry for new listings and sales. By the way, agents at this real estate franchise get 2.5% for listings - i.e. home owners ready to sell - and a further 2.5% for the sale. On a $500,000 sale this Agency receives 2.5% of the sale price - thats $12,500; the listing/selling agent gets 2.5% + 2.5% of the initial $12,500 which first' goes to the Agency. Now - you should know that there is no legal requirement to use an agent - you could sell your place by yourself - with the aid of your solicitor and the relevent conveyancing paperwork and a Section 32. Agents are every where! Constanly sleuthing for new listings and sales, remaining undaunted - certainly not threatened - by any perceived dwelling shortage for population ratio. You're either gonna be a renter or a buyer - either way you are at their mercy! Oh, I suppose you're wondering why I was looking for work in real estate? If they're going to sell my Country from under my feet to ... whoever ... I simply want to be in on the kill. It might be the only equity I will ever again have, in my country of birth: Australia. RIP.

You might be glad to know that I still have a few ideals left. I believe that, apart from actually needing a new profession - as a nurse- psychiatry is driving me mad - I would like to learn as much as I can about real estate because a) knowledge is power b) and used wisely, power can be - well, powerful. I hope that, with an inside running and a licence to kill (can't help myself - it's the Agent in me) - I can help others' get a better deal and give them good advise. I believe that, if I work for a franchise and learn all I can, that I can 'on-sell' that knowledge ( I do have to make a living, you know) - to the general public. Whether this newly acquired knowledge is dispensed through some form of media such as a column in a magazine or newspaper or through holding seminars, I believe I could help the buying public to learn to become savvy in regard to their properties and investments. I will learn all the lurks & perks - and be happy to pass the information on. I learnt during my short appointment with that real estate Principal, for instance, that banks will only lend around 50% of the price of Serviced Apartment type- investments... Stay tuned!

AAP (Australian Associate Press) March 1, 2010, 7:17 pm This AAP story, ran unchanged in Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. Details about the Essential Research poll don't seem to be available. Here is the URL: "The public has rejected plans to massively boost Australia's population. The federal government wants to increase the population from 22 million to 35 million by 2050, largely through immigration. But a poll has found three-quarters of respondents think Australia does not have the services or infrastructure to cope with more people. More than 60 per cent wanted immigration slowed. And a majority of the 1000 people surveyed by Essential Research late last month thought the environment was too fragile to cope with more people, and there was not enough space for them. The government wants to boost the population because it means more young taxpayers to pay for the high costs of an ageing population. But the public aren't buying the economic argument either - just over half of those surveyed thought more people would not help the economy. The poll also found that just over half the respondents - 51 per cent - approved of the government's plan to means test the rebate for private health cover. A third of respondents opposed the plan. The government wants to wind back the rebate for single people earning more than $75,000 and couples earning more than $150,000 a year. Support for the move, which is in trouble in the Senate, was stronger among Labor voters and those on low and middle incomes." Love your work, Candobetter!

According to Federal Member for Jagajaga, as advised by the Minister for Housing, Tanya Plibersek MP, the fundamental rule is that foreign non-residents are "prohibited from purchasing established dwellings in Australia". That means that "foreign non-residents must add to the Australian housing stock". They can purchase a NEW dwelling or BUILD a NEW dwelling, subject ot Government approval, but they are prohibited from owning EXISTING or ESTABLISHED dwellings. The problem of our "housing shortage" is not lack of housing, but population growth, engineered by our Federal government and supported by the State governments. More people are continually being added to our nation to increase our tax-base, and due to political sponsorships given by pro-growth groups such as land developers. Our population growth is not natural, organic, but driven by our massive immigration intake. Foreigners living overseas are allowed to invest in housing, as long as it is not "existing" housing or "established dwellings". This means we could have foreign landlords living in China! Surely this is absurd! Housing is a basic necessity, a right, not a means to exploit and extort people! The prices of housing has been pumped up to help the finance industry, the real estate and land developers, and provide a continual supply of new customers to businesses. The extra pressure and competition for foreign investors, in new real estate, will just exacerbate the problems and increase prices still! The existing population are increasingly being locked out of home ownership, and this is totally unpatriotic and un-Australian. A few elite are becoming wealthy at the expense of the majority. According to a letter in The Age today (10 March) says that "more than 23,000 Victorians are homeless". "They are one of the most disadvantaged groups and deserve a fair go".

We celebrate the births of two Asian elephants at zoos in Melbourne and Sydney, but there are other African elephants that will be victims of gunshots, terror and chainsaws. Babies could be terrorised and orphaned, and die. On March the 13th, the worldwide UN ban on ivory trading could be lifted -- a decision that could wipe out Africa's vulnerable elephants. Two African governments will try to pry open the worldwide ban on ivory trading -- a decision that could wipe out whole elephant populations and bring these magnificent animals closer to extinction. Tanzania and Zambia are lobbying the UN for special exemptions from the ban, but this would send a clear signal to the ivory crime syndicates that international protection is weakening and it's open-season on elephants. Another group of African states have countered by calling to extend the CITES trade ban for 20 years. Our best chance to save the continent's remaining elephants is to support African conservationists. We only have a few days left and the UN Endangered Species body only meets every 3 years. The petition will be delivered to the UN meeting in Doha: Sign The Petition!

The UN's wildlife trade organisation has turned down Tanzania's and Zambia's requests to sell ivory, amid concern about elephant poaching. Most conservation groups were delighted that the Tanzanian and Zambian bids were turned down. "This is a real victory for elephants," said Jason Bell-Leask, director of Southern African operations with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw). However, the real problem is poaching, and continues due to the continued existence of illegal domestic ivory markets across parts of Africa and Asia. Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Thailand are picked out as the worst offenders. Ivory can fetch up to $1,800 per kilo in Asia. The Zambian government said it had planned to use the proceeds of the sale of ivory stockpiles to fund conservation projects. More like Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank with their poor record of poaching and illegal sales of ivory! However, meeting in Doha, the UN's Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species rejected the proposals.

Kevin Rudd will use the posting of Mr Burke as population minister to "sell" what he thinks is not a "bad thing" for Australia, while he and our elite will be protected by their property and wealth. We are being cajoled to shove over and share our limited liveable green coast, fertile land and urban areas with millions more people, but why? Of course there will be a bigger "tax base" but there will be more expenses too. Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said Mr Burke had become "minister for a big Australia" - as Mr Rudd had not changed his mind about the need to limit population growth. This appointment is all damage control - about "opportunities" of a big Australia, and about planning! However many people he manages to cram into Australia, we could never match the swarming masses of people in our South East Asia region, and already many of these nations are suffering from over-population. As for "prosperity", the costs to the public for infrastructure are not covered by the short-term benefits of population growth. This pumped up growth has meant an increase in housing costs, mortgage stress and homelessness. Only a few prosper but for most it means misery. Most of our wealth comes from agriculture and mining, and we don't need a bigger population in our cities for this. As for "national security", surely he doesn't mean more cannon fodder for the ADF? Tony Burke recently recommended more training for kangaroo "harvesters" to encourage China to buy their meat. He is still renegotiating with Russia to re-open the market. Agriculture Minister Tony Burke defended the "culling" of hundreds of kangaroos in Canberra, saying the animals would "starve" to death if numbers are not reduced! So much for accountability to public opinion, junk-science and compassion for wildlife! There are already sprawling and dirty cities in the world, and at a time of global world population blow-out, Kevin Rudd's whim of a "big Australia" is about business interests, not about conservation or about protecting the interests of the electorate.

'Insiders' on 28th March included a short piece, I think from another channel, where a dozen prominent footballers were asked to name five Australian prime ministers. Not one succeeded. One said 'Edmund Barton' and then stopped dead. Several remembered Howard and others Hawke. One, at last, rattled off four correct names and then followed it confidently with 'George Bush !' Taking this as a fair sample of their generation, healthy alert young men from the people, although not of the academic minority, I wonder how wisely they will cast their obligatory vote at election time, and at the futility of argument and letters to the editor, when a huge proportion of the electors have not the faintest idea of what the arguments are about, and have not the slightest intention of finding out. I understand that if only 15% of a population is engaged and active history may be changed. All the same another question follows from this observation....with global warming, peak oil and overpopulation threatening mankind and demanding bold and sensible decisions...can we expect anything but tripe from these idiots, and as they appear to be in the majority, are we worth the trouble ?

I saw that too. I would not be too judgemental. You would be surprised how all kinds of previously apathetic people can suddenly see the light and become ardent political activists. The way politics is reported in the mainstream media, it is no surprise that many fail to take any interest in politics. And the experience of most activists of the past the past three decades is of having vast amounts of mental, emotional and physical energy and time expended for no tangible result. Think of the hundreds of thousands who protested to stop the Iraq war in 2003 who were ignored. The reasonable arguments they put against the war were buried under an avalanche of media lies and they ended up becoming a powerless minority, even if a large minority. Not only was the Iraq war not stopped, but the Howard Government was rewarded for its deceit and its defiance of those huge protests by being re-elected in October 2004 with an increase majority and an outright Senate majority. The same experience has been repeated over and over again in all sorts of community struggles. Even when majority public opinion remains with the grass roots activists as it more often does, with privatisation being teh obvious example, they are routinely ignored. In these circumstances, the response of many to become apparently apathetic and uninterested in politics should not come as a great surprise. When people start to see grass roots political campaigns succeed for a change, then I think we can expect many to be shaken out of their current apathy.

Senator Penny Wong should have been given the position of minister of "big population". With the failure of Copenhagen, the ETS and CPRS, she must have little to do. Our Government's "business as usual" to growth makes it clear that they are climate change sceptics. Kevin Rudd's commitment to the "greatest moral challenge of our time" has become another broken promise. However, appointing Penny Wong as minister of population would inconveniently link population growth and growth in CO2 levels, and this would not be in their interests!

April is a dangerous time for whales in Norwegian waters: it marks the start of whaling season. This year, up to 1,286 Minke whales will die from exploding harpoon and rifle wounds. Norway needs to know that this is unacceptable, NOW. Norway is one of just three countries defying the international ban on commercial whaling, undermining its reputation as a progressive nation concerned with animal welfare. The sheer size of whales, coupled with the challenging hunting environment, means that there is simply no humane way to kill these animals at sea. Norway’s own data shows that at least one in five hunted whales suffers a long, agonising death. Some take over an hour to succumb to their injuries. Imagine the pain. Despite the fact that only 1% of the population eat whale meat regularly, Norway continues to defy the whaling ban: 2010’s kill quota is the highest in 25 years. The government claims to receive little criticism over whaling. It’s time that changed. Please help WSPA and take action:

Kevin Rudd's commitment to climate change, the "greatest moral challenge of our generation", has become another broken promise. Australia already has many environmental problems, such as land degradation, endangered species, an increasing incidence of toxic algal blooms in our rivers, declining fish stocks, land clearing, air pollution, and vulnerable water supplies. All these impacts will be exacerbated and be more expensive to manage with increasing demands on our land and natural resources, brought about through population growth. Very large cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases are needed if we are to avoid the worst effects of global climate change. Decline in carbon sinks such as forests, and oceans' ability to absorb CO2, are evidence of the impacts of increasing populations on the environment. The benefits of increasing our population are arguable economic ones, and far from convincing. However, despite all possible "planning", the threats are enormous and long-reaching! The connection between population growth and rising CO2 levels, and the weakening of natural carbon sinks, is an "inconvenient truth" being ignored by our Federal government, intent on achieving maximum profits and taxes at the expense of future generations and our planet's health.

THE RSPCA says indigenous hunting methods for dugongs and green sea turtles are inhumane and is urging the federal government to stamp out cruelty in hunting methods. Under the Native Title Act 1993, native title holders can legally hunt dugongs and green turtles for personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs. However, there is evidence that the meat used in a black market trade. Traditional hunting does not mean the use of firearms either! The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) "works to protect marine animal species that are threatened, iconic or at risk. By identifying the threats to the survival of these animals the GBRMPA can develop appropriate management actions". However, indigenous people are allowed to slice off the fins of turtles while they are still alive, and hunt endangered dugongs! The world's largest sea turtle has been placed on Australia's threatened species list by the federal government. The leatherback turtle, previously classified as vulnerable, is now considered to be an endangered species. "The uplisting is mainly due to the ongoing threats the turtle faces from unsustainable harvesting of egg and meat and pressures . it is high time these animals were afforded strong protection and should not be allowed to be slaughtered - especially as described above - under the guise of " traditional hunting practices." Under the IUCN Criteria for Threatened Species, the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is listed as ENDANGERED - this means that a 50% reduction in their population has occurred over the last 10 years or in three generations. The Dugong (Dugong dugon) is listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED - meaning that they face a high rate of extinction in the immediate future. Both the Green Turtle and Dugong MUST be afforded IMMEDIATE protection. All wildlife should be protected - from indigenous and non-indigenous hunting, black markets and cruelty. The suffering and abuse of animals can't be justified, and transcends race or customs. There is not justification for animal abuse, torture, or mutilations and the laws that protect animals should be universal.

The right of endangered species to exist must morally supercede any human choice to practice nostalgic culture that may threaten the survival of that species. To do otherwise is inhuman arrogance beyond Hitler’s final solution. Think about it; Hitler only sought to exterminate a few races, not the entire species! Now in the 21st Century, humans of all traditions with access to modern lifestyles, supermarkets, medicine and technology, anyone choosing to engage in nostalgic traditional human cultures to the detriment of nonhuman species is depraved arrogance that deserves condemnation. Killing wildlife is wrong and completely unnecessary to sustain a human family from starvation. Woolies and Coles are just up the road. Inhumane slaughter is wrong and unnecessary to humans and nonhumans. The dugongs and green sea turtles need to be respected as scarce creatures surviving human wildlife holocaust over the past centuries. Australian Aboriginal claims of Native Title to land is one thing. But claims of rights to drive these species to extinction is an abomination - worse than Hitler's final solution. Wildlife persecution for what any human excuse must cease if it is to survive at all. Give me a rifle and I shall justly shoot anyone trying to kill wildlife. Bugger such cultural excuses. Any Aboriginal culture that seeks to kill endangered Australian wildlife is backward and barbaric and should attract the same criminal punishment as killing humans, if not more, given humans are not close to genocide or speciescide. Endangered species morally supercedes nostalgic choice culture. Tiger Quoll Snowy River 3885 Australia

THE Australian-born family will be a minority social group in 15 years, according to new research by demographic consultants Soaring immigration and an ageing population mean that migrant families will outnumber Australian-born residents by 2025. The population debate is not about "racism" but about our unsustainable swelling numbers - driven mainly by immigration. The "racism" argument is a clever ploy being used by pro-growth advocates to stop us commenting on our runaway population growth by being embarrassed. We should be addressing this global problem with local action, not be part of the problem. Our wealth is from mining and agriculture, but governments have developed unhealthy relationship with land-developers and other pro-growth industries - all for more taxes and revenues and commercial profits. Government decisions are being based on benefits for the banking, building industries, mass markets and a bigger tax base, not for the interests of Australians. Already our Australian identity is being covered by layers and layers of cultures with each round of immigration so that we will become just a generic, unanimous, boring place to live of sprawling cities and road networks. MacroPlan are hardly going to offer objective, indifferent results to their predictions or research! According to their website, Macroplan offers an array of "professional services including retail analysis, market and consumer research, property portfolio strategy, development feasibility, strategic, statutory and community planning, property economics, policy research and industrial land analysis". "As leaders in the property market, MacroPlan provides thought leadership to the industry, through regular presentations identifying future trends and scenarios, and strategic direction in relation to major industry trends, including planning advice for major industry participants". Macroplan Australia represents the pro-growth lobby, along with Bernard Salt, the Lowy Institute, and the Property Council of Australia.

Will Melbourne still be marvellous in 2050? Conversations about population growth Promo follows: You are invited to an important discussion focussed on the very topical subject of population growth. A small panel of informed commentators with discuss the issues and open up the floor for questions and commentary. Will Melbourne still be marvellous in 2050? Conversations about population growth Australia's population growth will mainly be in urban areas with Melbourne estimated at seven to eight million by 2050. Many argue it's sustainable, desirable and inevitable, many disagree. Prominent commentators will discuss the numerous pros and cons of predicted population growth. Come along and have your say. Date: Thursday 22 April 2010 Time: 6pm to 8pm. Entry from 5.30pm – arrive early to ensure a seat. Venue: BMW Edge Federation Square, Cnr Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne FREE ENTRY – NO BOOKINGS The event willl be filmed for presentation through an internet TV site SlowTV the following week. Mr Charles Berger - Director of Strategic Ideas, Australian Conservation Foundation, Melbourne Mr Saul Eslake – Economist and Program Director, Productivitty Growth, Grattan Institute, Melbourne Ms Maurene Horder – CEO The Migration Institute of Australia Limited, Sydney Mr Mark O’Connor - Author, Poet and Environmentalist, Canberra Dr Marcus Spiller - Planner and Urban Economist, Founding Director, SGS Economics and Planning, Melbourne Moderator: Mr Peter Mares - Journalist and Presenter, The National Interest, ABC Radio National Introduction and welcome: Cr Peter Clarke – Chair Planning Committee, Melbourne City Council The City of Melbourne is especially interested in this important topic because of the unprecedented growth and change in Melbourne over the past 15 years. The City of Melbourne is working to ensure that our continued growth is well designed and well managed; making sure that Melbourne remains one of the world's most liveable cities. - Cr Peter Clarke thatsmelbourne.com.au | T 9658 9658

Population and land-use planning sociologist, Sheila Newman, will be talking population with former Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks, on Jon Faine's show 3LO (774) for one hour (including talkback) from 11am to 12.00 hrs on Monday 19th. Comments will be sought from the Business Council and others during the program and Jon Faine is known to support growth. (This is a Victorian Program but it can be accessed on-line from anywhere: or ) (Sheila Newman is a writer and editor at and author/editor of The Final Energy Crisis, 2nd Edition, Pluto Press, UK, 2008.)

Congratulations Sheila. The phones were really busy and hard to get through. Steve Bracks was trying to convince us that living standards could IMPROVE with more people and improved sustainability. These people live in their wealth and really have no understanding of rising costs, housing shortages, mortgage stress and are basically environmentally illiterate. The arguments FOR limitless growth were purely economic. Of course, we have made some improvements in living sustainably, and people are more conscience of recycling and water usage etc, but they ignore the fact of global population blowout and the fact that food and water resources will have trouble keeping up to demands. A global problem should be faced globally and locally, and we don't have to be part of the problem.

Andrology Australia Forum 4-6 June, Bondi, NSW: Registration Open Don't forget to register Andrology Australia is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 4th annual Andrology Australia Forum, as part of the program's 10 year celebration in men's health, and the year of the launch of the first National Men's Health Policy. This year's theme is 'Tackling the Inequities of Men's Health' to provide an overview of research, policy and practice to address the disparities that exist between different groups of men. The 1-1/2 day Andrology Australia Forum is being held on 4th to 6th June, 2010 in Bondi, NSW. An exciting program has been developed including Plenary Speakers Dr Noel Richardson (Ireland) and Governor Prof David de Kretser AC (Vic) confirmed to speak at the event. A RACGP accredited GP workshop is also being planned (facilitated by Dr Mark Wenitong) to consider ways for GPs and other health professionals to better engage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in health. More details about the Forum can be found at . Registration is now open and can be made directly on the conference website

Madden has just signed off another huge and inappropriate development. This time it is the Stocklands Development at Point Lonsdale. When Hulls was Minister, this was refused and Stocklands were given Tooronga on a silver platter. Now Madden gives them Point Lonsdale. which is as odds with the government's 2008 coastal strategy, which prohibits 'the development of new residential canal estates to ensure the protection of coastal and estuary environments' So here we are, again the government breaking the rules. Source: Email from Planning Backlash

Please find attached a copy of the radio segment on this morning's ABC Radio National program "Breakfast" regarding the burning of native forest woodchip waste for so called renewable energy generation.This item can be played in Winamp by clicking on it to open. (Refer to ABC website >Radio National> Breakfast, item "Woodchip waste fuelled power plant" 8.13 am, Monday 26 April, to stream or download this item if unable to listen to this attechment: ) The reason they are pushing this now is not because they give a hoot about ‘renewable energy’, or using up ‘waste’, it’s because their old markets for woodchips are on the way out. Please don’t be conned. If this forest fuelled power generator gets the tick in Sthn NSW, it could open the door for others. Back in the 1960s and 70s, when they introduced widespread clearfelling to replace selective logging, they gave absolute assurances that woodchipping would never drive the logging industry, and that woodchips would only come from the waste. History has shown this was an absolute lie!! Now over 85% of all trees taken from Victoria's native forests ends up as woodchips and waste. These projects must be stopped!!

In the rather pretentious , a survey of chief executive sentiment shows "CEOs agree with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that a “big Australia” is best." Yet another reason to vote against population growth. "CEOs" are people at the head of big business organisations. The ones that are behind the World Trade Organisation and huge and costly developments that stamp out our freedom of movement and raise property prices and commodify water and power. Yes, population growth does mean economic growth for big business; it is just small to medium enterprises and everyone else who suffer at the expense of those who profit from population growth. Big business invests in many assets the prices of which inflate with population growth, notably land, housing, water, agriculture, minerals, and mass production plant and retail. So, naturally CEOs in the areas would usually support population growth. Their organisations can even avoid the taxes involved in many cases. Our government - the ALP - is nought but a big corporation that invests in banking, land, and insurance and who knows what else. So from its point of view population growth is fine. It has a feudal view of the rest of us - independent businesses and wage earners.

You make some good points, nerodog. However, I dispute that it should seem at all 'natural' that Big Business, or, indeed, anyone would want population to grow indefinitely. As I have said often, including , our intuition and normal common sense would surely tell us that it would be in no-one's interests to have the number of people amongst whom the resources are to be shared to increase. Whether rich or poor, the amount of wealth available to anyone should be less. The fact that the rich actually get richer from circumstances in which all of us must necessarily become poorer on average and our very future destroyed, is a sign that there is something extremely flawed in the way our society is run.

Our society is subsidiary to the market, and the market sets its course in the direction of wherever dollars accumulate fast. There is no sense in it, only money. Because no-one objective stands back and says, we have to stop because look where this is taking us, the government just continues to allow money to set our priorities. And money has no more interest in social justice than it does in the environment. So your protests about logic are irrelevant to this system. With all due respect, Nerodog

Have a look at the latest edition of the the ABS Labour Force Statistics (March 2010). As you probably know the overall unemployment rate is 5.3%, but for young people aged 15-19 it's 18.2%, up from 14.6% in March 2007. If this were just students who were looking for part time work it might not be so disgraceful but the overall picture is this. There were 434,400 people aged 15-19 in Australia in March 2010. Of these 64,300 were not in full time education and they were looking for work, ie they were officially unemployed and not studying (or at least not studying full time). A further 59,700 were neither in full time education nor were they looking for work (so they don't show up as unemployed). This means that overall there were 124,000 15 to 19 year olds who were not working (either full time or part time) and not in full time education, that is 28.5% of the whole age group. See ABS, Labour Force March 2010, Catalogue no. 6202.0, ABS, Canberra, 2010, p. 21 (This can be downloaded from @.nsf/DetailsPage/6202.0Mar%202010?OpenDocument) Yet we overlook them and say we have a labour shortage and lament the lack of local skills. Source: remark on PopForum

Bob Couch heads up the Stop Population Growth Now (SPGN) party, which was launched in Adelaide today, and is running for a Senate seat in the federal election, expected this year. The SPGN party believes Australia's population will surpass 42 million by 2050, forecasting 50 million people by 2050, crippling environment, water supplies and infrastructure. But the party, which says it plans to run candidates in every state, can't register with the Australian Electoral Commission until it has 500 members. So far, its membership is little more than a handful. "Four polls in recent months have all indicated that about 70 per cent of Australians do not support the Rudd government's deliberate push for a 'big Australia' with all its adverse environmental, social and economic consequences," Bob Couch said. Sounds reasonable but we need some contact details. No web page yet? Editorial comment: The web page is: It's not completely clear to me why they haven't thrown in their weight with the . If anyone can find out, please let us know. - JS

A proposal currently before the global whaling body would allow controlled commercial whaling operations by existing whaling nations, including Japan. Australia will offer an alternative. "We've always been committed to the diplomatic engagement that's necessary as a first step to properly resolve these matters," Peter Garrett said. However, the diplomatic "first step" is as far as our Federal Government has ever been! If they had been forceful, Japan's illegal whale slaughter could have been quashed by now. Instead , procrastinations have allowed a de facto legality, and thus confidence to continue. Their "scientific research" facade should not have been recognised in the first place. Allowing criminals to knowingly continue their crimes is being an accessory before the fact, and means that our Government is complicit in supporting them.

What has Peter Garrett achieved as Environment Minister? How many whales has he stopped being poached in Australia's Southern Oceans and Whale Sanctuary? The Japanese poachers and their government have no respect for Australia's maritime sovereignty in the Southern Ocean. They pirate our wildlife with impunity. The best course of action is to boycott Japanese products, prevent all Japanese vessels from birthing and refueling in Australian ports, sack Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and implement honest and proper food labelling across Australia. Australian's should know whether they are eating dolphin, Bluefin tuna, whale meat or palm oil, etc. Tiger Quoll Snowy River 3885 Australia

Somali Pirates Say They Are Subsidiary of Goldman Sachs

Could Make Prosecution Difficult, Experts Say

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA (The Borowitz Report) -- Eleven indicted Somali pirates dropped a bombshell in a U.S. court today, revealing that their entire piracy operation is a subsidiary of banking giant Goldman Sachs.

There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the leader of the pirates announced, "We are doing God's work. We work for Lloyd Blankfein."

The pirate, who said he earned a bonus of $48 million in dubloons last year, elaborated on the nature of the Somalis' work for Goldman, explaining that the pirates forcibly attacked ships that Goldman had already shorted.

"We were functioning as investment bankers, only every day was casual Friday," the pirate said.

The pirate acknowledged that they merged their operations with Goldman in late 2008 to take advantage of the more relaxed regulations governing bankers as opposed to pirates, "plus to get our share of the bailout money."***

In the aftermath of the shocking revelations, government prosecutors were scrambling to see if they still had a case against the Somali pirates, who would now be treated as bankers in the eyes of the law.***

"There are lots of laws that could bring these guys down if they were, in fact, pirates," one government source said. "But if they're bankers, our hands are tied."

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ROME today. Flanked by international developers from Mary McKillop Gene-Works and Suburban Developments (based in Melbourne Australia) today, Pope Benedict XVI (25-4-2010) weighed into the international financial crisis, with a change of policy on genetic engineering of the human species. "This is a crisis calling for unusual measures", said the Pope, remarking on the financial losses which the Vatican had recently sustained. Benedict added, "I am therefore blessing this new Civil and Genetic engineering team's courageous program, and I urge all Catholics to support it." Scientists say that the new program calls on a boostered version of a virus that can be spliced into human beings, which it is thought will lead to successive resizing downwards of humans over the next three generations. It will be communicated naturally, through activities leading to conception. In 60 years, with the help of this program, humans will be the size of mice. In this way the Pope, the banks, developers and real-estate agents hope to be able to subdivide more than has ever been possible before, whilst drawing upon less and less water and petroleum. "There are no limits to the future of this brilliant scheme," said a smiling Benedict XVI. "Soon we may all be microscopic!" Indeed, with any luck our species may completely disappear.

According to the Urban Taskforce, "Australia would be making a serious mistake if any government attempted to cap the annual rate of population growth to half its historical level and keep numbers under 30 million at 2050". According to their website, The is a "non-profit organisation representing Australia's most prominent property developers and equity financiers. We provide a forum for people involved in the development and planning of the urban environment to engage in constructive dialogue with both government and the community". It may be "non-profit organisation" but their ideals are about profits! "Any reduction to our nation’s rate of population growth puts at risk the very things that have made Australia what it is today.” Yes, things such as the drought, loss of biodiversity, homelessness, traffic congestion, urban sprawl, loss of native species, degradation of waterways and wetlands and quality of life. "“Businesses in these cities (without a strong immigration program) will be forced to offer whatever they can afford to attract people from other parts of Australia". Maybe a few more unemployed Aussies would be offered some job opportunities. The parameters of growth, social, biological, environmental, greenhouse gas emission targets, and costs, are simply ignored. People are considered simply as economic units to be accumulated to create as a resource for the business elite and for a big "tax base".

There are 20 less examples of Amazonian Dolphin, pink dolphins. That's because clandestine fishermen (?) in Peru decided to poison them so they'd not make holes in their nets and try to eat their illegal catch while they poached the Bazagán lake in Loreto, Peru. The bodies of the 20 dolphins were found dead in the lake on the morning of 1st May. * Freshwater living (found in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador Colombia and even one or two in the Amazon feedrivers of Bolivia) * Beautiful and friendly * Grow to three metres long and are very intelligent (their brains are some 40% bigger than human brains by weight) * Endangered (according to the IUCN (intl union for the conservation of nature)) Apparently, they were poisoned by local fishermen, who usually complain that these animals damage their fishing nets, according to daily La República. The animals were found floating on the lagoon, located in the province of Requena, in the north east of Loreto in Peru. La República newspaper reports that the dolphins have probably been given poisoned fish, despite killing animals from endangered species is legally punishable offence according to Peruvian laws. Investigations are on the way. However, this is what the official version says- it is could easily be a case of the river being poisoned and polluted by mercury from mining activities! Rivers are being poisoned due to lack of environmental accountability and corruption in Peru.

On behalf of Brian Spittle:

Peak Everything is leaning heavily upon us and and it has finally become fashionable to consider the possibility that sunshine and flowers is not our inevitable lot. Serious documentaries about population and oil are shown to the minority who watch serious TV and the ongoing discussions about Big Australia are reaching many more. Newspapers will now have a go to a limited degree, and the ABC radio belatedly joins in.

Nevertheless something may be lacking

Political change is possible if a big part of the population gets the message.

We need to reach the people who happily watch films of romance, horror, sport or fashion but switch off when the gore, the shooting and the sex is absent.

A film of generous length; placed in 2050 or later, when the peak everything shortages are making life miserable for everyone except James Packer, with lead roles played by two popular actors, could be made to knock off everyone's socks.

The end would not necessarily need to be universal death. A ray of hope would be essential.

The drama, horror, conflict, passion, hope and titillation are all there. The script writes itself. The film precedents are in the archives. Gone with the Wind and Titanic for instance. Maybe The Good Earth.

I would not suggest Dick Smith finances it, but he would be a wizard at passing the collection plate.

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