Amongst the Sadness, a Shining Light

In a world saddled with sadness as innocents abroad have their lives or loved ones taken by acts of violence either malevolent or accidental, a light has shone in the world when researchers at RMIT revealed their success in creating a paint made of  cheap and readily available materials that has the ability to use Solar Energy to convert airborne water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The fact that they have achieved this is remarkable in itself but then they topped that by deciding to release the details without seeking a patent so that the technology can be taken up by others to make it commercially available as soon as possible.

The details of their work were revealed in The Age ( Solar Paint -16/07/2017 ) and I can only say that I find their reasoning reassuring – there are good people in the world. Lets just hope that the businesses that take advantage of their largesse don’t attempt to take advantage of consumers. This has the potential to change the world for the better – Donald can forget about ignoring Climate Change, this one discovery has the potential to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions back to previously unobtainable levels.

Thank you  RMIT lead researcher Dr Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh and your team.

Stop Politicising Terror

To all those politicians that think that its quite alright to use the pain and suffering of the victims of terror to make political points STOP IT, ITS NOT ABOUT YOU.

That Malcom Turnbull could contemplate blaming the Victorian Government for the behaviour a terrorist thug in order to score political points for his state counterpart is beneath contempt. For Mathew Guy to blame Daniel Andrews and accuse him of being weak merely illustrates why Guy is on the opposition benches. The plain simple fact is that a criminal with intent to inflict terror on the good people of Melbourne formed a murderous plot in short order that could not have been seen by authorities. His own family apparently didn’t see it coming.

The head of the Adult Parole Board (Judge Peter Couzens) detailed at length the circumstances of Moron Number 100’s parole. I would recommend that all interested parties read it and absorb the facts before letting their mouths run off again. The depth and breadth of their considerations showed that the reforms carried out to the Victorian parole system after the Jill Meagher tragedy have led to a much improved system. The fact that Moron Number 100 played the system, the extent of which may become apparent following the thorough police investigation, does not mean that the system itself is broken.

Many people fail to understand the purpose of parole, viewing it as a means by which the convicted get to escape the confines of prison. In reality it is a mechanism by which society is able to place controls or requirements on a parolee in order to reduce recidivism. The conditions that were applied to Moron Number 100 were appropriate, his supervision was thorough (his first application for parole was rejected, the second only granted after he had undertaken courses relevant to his personal circumstances) and he was near to the completion of his sentence, at which time all supervision would cease. The events of Brighton have more to do with Moron Number 100’s inability to maintain a civilised life. No excuses, not even the fact that he had arrived as a refugee from Somalia. People make choices in life, not all of them wise or considered, and some people are pathetic in that they need to use violence as a method to prove their masculinity or their position in the world.

In any case, no politician directed this idiot’s behaviour, the Adult Parole Board did its job well, the Receptionist at Brighton was a good man who didn’t deserve this fate and politicians would do well to respect his memory.

Moron Number 100

I read John Silvester’s column in The Age this morning and thought he expressed what I had been feeling really well. Its worth having a look at. Our points of view align when it comes to the media constantly promoting the misdeeds of these idiots by plastering their names all over the place, giving them the notoriety they long for. That’s why I’ve decided to label this latest idiot Moron Number 100, no name just a title that illustrates his mental prowess. I could pander to his weaknesses by pointing out the likely problems he had growing up as a Somali refugee in Australia with all the baggage that that entails but the reality is that he was an adult. Like all adults it is up to him to make his way through life. The vast majority of people don’t resort to crime, don’t try to manage their failings by abusing drugs and alcohol. Indeed most would never dream of stealing from other hardworking people. The people that do resort to these measures are self declared victims. Now I know some will read this as a white middle class Australian who wouldn’t know what its like to struggle. Without going into detail, I have had my share of troubles and I have had to dig deep to get myself back up – I have had to do that my self. Sure I asked for some help and our glorious Medicare system enabled me to receive that help, the point being that I had to make a considered decision to get myself out of the hole.

The Liberal Party would call it self determination, and, to an extent they would be correct. Others would say I’m being harsh, but I call it tough love – don’t blame others for your failings, accept that bad decisions are choices you choose to make. Show some backbone and stay strong in adversity and never take the easy option of blaming your problems on other people. If other people are causing you grief, walk away. If others ask you to hate, walk away, hate only consumes the person carrying it. Most of all don’t hide behind a religion that you never followed seriously, don’t use it as excuse for acts of hate.

Goodbye Moron number 100, the world’s IQ was raised on the night you died.

Another day, another coward

I understand that people can fill disconnected from the societies they live – poverty, unemployment, bigotry or sexuality are often used as tools to beat up on people, young and old. I cannot understand how that disconnect entitles you to brutalise the innocent. If you are truly disaffected shouldn’t you be taking it out on those in positions of power? To say that attacking  children at a social outing is justifiable jihad only illustrates how distorted their view of the world is. For someone to carry out a suicide bombing in these circumstances shows that they have been brainwashed and manipulated by gutless criminal cowards who are to afraid to take on tough targets themselves. Added to this mix is an increasing suspicion that these people have below average intelligence. This is the only way that I can understand that they are able to justify what they are doing. Even the innocent children that they slaughtered in Manchester would have a better capacity to see what they were doing was wrong and that it certainly didn’t further the criminals’ aims if they were looking for acceptance. These low life are obviously not students of history, or else they would be aware of the fairness and integrity of the Saracens during the so called crusades that led them to be victorious over the invading armies. Nor have they noted how brutal dictators like Hitler, Amin and the Khmer Rouge all get their comeuppance as good people around the world rise up and defeat them with unity and love.

To anybody out there that reads this and thinks that they have legitimate reasons to hate the western democracies, talk to me. Explain it so I might understand and help you find a better way. Infamy is not fame or fortune, cruel criminal acts are not carried out by true warriors, Islam doesn’t belong to bigoted murderers.

You want a better life – do it by loving life.

A penny for your thoughts Malcolm

We have the pleasure of hosting the Vice President of the United States this weekend. With the threat of terrorism and rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula I can understand that Australia needs to keep onside with the world’s largest military power but I do find that Malcolm’s sycophantic adulation of the USA and the seeming readiness to follow wherever the US leads us worrying. Even when the United States had leaders of some intelligence, our blind following of the US as they headed into wars has done the young men and women of our defence forces no service. I hope that the government seriously considers any military excursions of the United States as their problem. As was shown in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, blindly following the US into battle without a formulated, strategic goal only results in the needless deaths of young Australians with no apparent improvement in conditions in the invaded countries.

Please Malcolm, take a deep breath and tell VP Pence we will help you when it suits our position in the world, when we see that involvement in armed conflict will help preserve the peace for all Australians and relieve tensions in the wider world – not for the political interests of the United States or any other foreign power.

You’ve Gotta be kidding me!

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has teamed up with the BHP CEO, Wesfarmers CEO, Qantas CEO and the boss of Energy Australia to demand that the Senate crossbench pass the company tax cuts. According to the BCA, the full company tax cuts should be left on the table because, wait for it, “it is the only plan  Australia has got to drive growth and investment”. You are joking right? The only hope, according to these clowns, is that multinational companies who currently spend most of their time dodging paying of their fair share of tax in Australia must get this tax cut because its the only thing that they have come up with to improve growth in Australia. I would suggest that these CEOs hand in their collective badges if that is the best that they can offer their shareholders. Where are the visionary plans, where is the investment in new sources of energy production, where are the plans for creating meaningful jobs, instead  a tax cut so that the rich can have an extra coffee on Sunday served by a part time worker on reduced penalty  rates. How about coming up with full time jobs for young Australians, not in shuffling paper and pretending to create wealth by shuffling said paper, but in real wealth creation jobs such as manufacturing or agriculture.

We all know that at best, by the Productivity Commissions own research, after 20 years the expected increase in GDP due to this tax cut is less than 4% OVER TWENTY YEARS. This is not a plan, this is simply the rich continuing to line their pockets while governments have to reduce their services in order to balance the books. If the rich want to see what happens when the poor say enough is enough, just continue on this path of greed and indifference to the plight of ordinary working Australians. Its appalling the way that young people are being treated at the moment with only casual work and/or part time work, house prices and rents getting further out of reach, employers using sham contracting to further cut wages… all of this is leading towards a dangerous situation.

The American Dream

For those wishing to see the future of Australia as seen through the eyes of the Liberal dries and their cronies, have a look at the Four Corners (http://iview.abc.net.au/) episode broadcast on 13th March 2017. Prepared by a french documentary team, it shows the end results of a low wage policy and how extremely profitable companies are abusing their power and using dubious methods to cut the wages of their employees. One example, GE, distributed $26 billion to its shareholders last year while at the same time closing a locomotive factory in one state and opening a new one in Texas where they are able to pay their employees half what they are paid at the existing plant.

We continue to see this sort of behaviour in Australia. The Liberals privatised the power market in Victoria with the promise of cheaper power through competition between retailers and improved efficiencies in production of power. The end result has been ever increasing cost of electricity to consumers and ever increasing profits to both power retailers and wholesalers . Its worth noting how the retailers have no qualms in ripping off consumers that return solar energy back to the grid. Retailers pay wholesalers approximately $0.28 per kilowatt for power but only pay customers $0.06 for the power they produce to then sell it to the next door customer for full price. The market supposedly has its behaviour controlled by market pressure but, as we constantly see, this is simply untrue. Large companies collude to limit pay rises for their employees while scratching each others backs when it comes to executive pay. Consumers have little power in the market – they have to take the prices offered because companies operating in a global market can sell their goods to whomever pays the highest price (e.g. natural gas shortages in Australia because the asian consumers will pay more for it). Governments cannot force them to take lower prices as they would then be accused of attempting to nationalise an industry or of breaching free trade agreements. The reality is that the rich, that is the shareholders, don’t care what poor people have to pay as long as the  rich continue reaping obscene profits and have the ability to live the lifestyle they desire.

Rich Australians, compared to their overseas counterparts, are more self serving and less altruistic. Occasionally one of them makes a grand gesture that makes it into the media because it is so rare. I commend those people but would encourage them to become the conscience of the rich and show them they need to share the wealth with all Australians, especially their employees.

Fair Fair Work, Hardly

I’m amazed that the Fair work Commission still believes in the trickle down effect and that the various business associations are the only one’s that know how the changes to penalty rates will effect both employment and employees. If anyone believes that the reduction in penalty rates for Sunday will automatically result in increased employment is naive at best, lying at worst. I would expect the majority of employers will pocket the resulting savings because the Fair Work made its ruling to improve productivity. That is to say the Commission was looking for a reset where the same amount of work is carried out for a reduced cost. Employers will not increase employment by 25% if their current staff is meeting workplace output demands. Equally, employers not currently opening on Sundays because the wage outlay is unlikely to be covered by the Sunday trade will not have reason to believe that this has changed as a result of the 25% cut.

The problem is that no-one seems to have thought through the real effects on employees and the rest of the economy. This ruling has resulted in 600,000 employees having their Sunday penalty rates cut. Many of those affected are people who use weekend shifts as their sole income as they undertake full time study. Others use the weekend shifts to make it through the week to week struggle. I personally know people on the Disability Support Pension that have been able to undertake limited Sunday shifts which results in greater return for their restricted labour.

The Commissioners need to realise that their actions will result in the lowest paid workers in Australia having their wages cut and the likelihood that this will have an adverse effect on EBAs that will be negotiated over the next few years. It seems as if this is a deliberate attack on the poorly paid in an industry that provides services to the wealthy – are they aiming to reduce costs to the rich at the expense of the poor?

God dammit, He’s back again

The belligerent buffoon has returned. Fresh from showing his two-faced climate belief credentials in the lower house as he joked about coal fired power stations, the country was melting under severe weather with even more records being broken today. Still its good for a laugh to pass the lump of coal around while South Australian’s lost power again, not because of renewable generation but because power companies were playing the system to increase the wholesale price of electricity and refusing to take up the Regulator’s request to increase output. But, hey, we’re not in parliament to look after the people, we are in parliament to look after ourselves (just ask Senator Ian McDonald as he bleats about having his entitlements cut even after he has lived off the public purse for 30 years and currently earns, nay receives, around $200,000 per year)

Its one thing to play political point scoring, its quite another to dismiss offhand the problems that are facing Australians and the rest of the world. This is the same clown who thinks there is nothing wrong cutting the Newstart allowance to 22 and 23 year olds and paying them under the Youth Allowance instead. Apparently landlords don’t charge full rent for these people and supermarkets offer them a discount on their food – buggar me I hadn’t realised. But wait there’s more – not steak knives but how about giving companies a tax cut while cutting welfare payments, lining up the old and the disabled for the firing squad while allowing multimillionaires tax breaks using negative gearing which keeps pushing up house prices especially for first home owners. But Scott the Twot says it will improve the economy and increase wages. Its a miracle! Mind you his own modelling says that the increase in GDP will be in the vicinity of 3.5% AFTER 20 YEARS! I thought he was bad as Immigration Minister but as Treasurer he seems to have become totally blind to the needs of the poor, working families, and ordinary hard working Australians in small business, while being only to happy to accomodate the rich, multinational companies, many of whom are dodging paying their fair share of tax.

This has to stop, you cannot persist in this thoroughly disreputable theory of Trickle-down Economics. It hasn’t worked, the disparity between rich and poor continues to grow and the vast majority of us are feeling powerless hence the desperate moves to whacko right wing political parties. If you want to save Australia, if you want to save the western democratic system, this basic current tenet of capitalism has to change. We can no longer (as if we ever could) trust the market to self regulate. They won’t act fairly because they know they will not be punished by governments, quite the opposite. If they stuff up governments use the taxes of the poor to bail out the rich, greedy capitalists. The poor have no power in this unequal relationship. This why governments have to intervene. If there is no shift in the current positions of the major parties, they will fail within four terms of the parliament and we will end up with unstable coalitions of either right or left leaning parties and policy failures as illustrated in the United States of America in both the Presidency and Congress.

You have been warned.

Time For Change

I wonder if you agree with me – its time to change Australia Day. Let’s face it, 26th January is really Sydney Day or, at best, NSW day. It really does not reflect anything about Australia as a whole. A true Australia Day would probably be the 1st January as a nod to our independence from Britain in 1901. But I think a more meaningful day would be 3rd June, the day on which the Mabo decision was handed down in 1992. This decision finally acknowledged the existence of the Aboriginal nations prior to white settlement and for the first time, acknowledged links with country.

I would say that this is the day that Australia finally matured into a fully fledged nation albeit with plenty of work still to be done. Nevertheless, it makes Australia one country belonging to us all.

3rd June has my vote.