Australia

Dutton’s New Super Security Department To Target Smiths Chips, Seagulls and Gobbledoks

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 20/07/2017 - 8:17am in

The makers of Smiths Chips have gone into hiding following the appointment of Peter Dutton as the head of Australia’s new super Home Affairs security ministry.

“ISIS, the mafia and Russian spies will no longer be Australia’s main security concern,” announced Peter Dutton. “However, if you are a member of the fungal species Phytophthora that causes potato blight then expect to feel the full force of the law.”

Passengers will be banned from taking potato peelers on domestic and international flights in one of a several new measures introduced by the department, along with a move to put every purchaser of a deep fryer on a special watch and observe list.

“We’ve been informed that our cookbook is now a banned publication unless we remove our recipe for shepherd’s pie,” said Alicia Crockpot, editor of the Womens Weekly Cookbook. “A group of masked commandos raided our kitchen yesterday and took away all our packets of gnocchi.”

Compilers of the Plain English Dictionary heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing the news that George Brandis would be given less powers in the security overhaul.

Peter Green
http://www.twitter.com/Greeny_Peter

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The myth of Baseload Power (it’s not what you think)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/07/2017 - 10:32am in

Anyone who engages in online discussion on issues involving renewable energy for any length of time will encounter the myth that renewable energy is unreliable in supplying base-load demand. This myth is pushed into the discussion with substantial financial investment, directly and indirectly, by vested interests in continued reliance on the Global Suicide Pact power […]

The post The myth of Baseload Power (it’s not what you think) appeared first on Red, Green, and Blue.


Severe Loss Of Old Growth Greens As Citizenship Based Clear-felling Continues

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/07/2017 - 8:48am in

The Australian Greens are today surveying the damage done to the party room following the citizenship-based clear-felling that has occurred to their old-growth Senators.

The loss of Senators Ludlam and Waters is seen as significant and has caused structural damage to the party. As they supported the canopy that held up leader Richard Di Natale.

A Greens party official spoke to The (un)Australian about the party’s woes, saying: “The loss of Ludlam and Waters is devastating to the party as both were located near the centre of the party room and provided a decent windbreak for Richard Di Natale.

“They sheltered him from the winds of change that kept blowing in from the left.

“Now that they’re gone Richard is quite vulnerable not only from the winds coming from the left but also could be damaged should some of the dead wood fall in his direction. The Lee Rhiannon is leaning precariously to the left and is in danger of falling.”

Greens leader Richard Di Natale was unavailable for comment as he was dealing with the parties struggles with a six-hour-long float tank session, after which he will embark on a week-long meditation session.

Mark Williamson and Peter Green

www.twitter.com/MWChatShow

www.twitter.com/greeny_peter

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AUSTRALIA: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen (Labor Party) Urges Party NOT to Support Universal Basic Income

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 16/07/2017 - 4:00pm in

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News, Australia

Chris Bowen. Credit to Britta Campion   Shadow Treasurer of the Australian Labor Party, Chris Bowen who is the Opposition Minister for Government expenditure and revenue raising, delivered a speech to the progressive think tank PerCapita in Sydney on June 9th, expressing his resistance to the concept of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), despite the support within the Labor Party

The post AUSTRALIA: Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen (Labor Party) Urges Party NOT to Support Universal Basic Income appeared first on BIEN.

Australian Space Agency To Send Manned Holden Kingswood To Dubbo By 2035

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 14/07/2017 - 8:21am in

Australia will be getting its very own space agency with plans to mount a mission to put astronauts on the surface of Dubbo within two decades.

“Due to the high cost of petrol and the dodgy radiator we will have to find crew members willing to undertake a one way voyage,” said astronomer Millicent Tang. “As far as we know the reality series Yummy Mummies doesn’t get broadcast in Dubbo so that should be enough incentive for us to get millions of volunteers.”

Technicians working to overcome the problem of providing enough bags of chips to keep the crew fed during the five hour voyage are looking into rerouting the craft to stop at the Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath for a drink and that good hamburger shop in Orange for dinner.

“We learnt a lot from an earlier mission to Mittagong in the 1960s in a Datsun 180b,” said astronaut Paul Thomas. “Mainly we learnt that crew members must be supplied with more than one mix tape to listen to for the whole trip or else they’ll face severe psychological distress.”

An unmanned mission to Dubbo in the 1970s sent back several blurry images of the Western Plains Zoo and the old jail.

Peter Green
http://www.twitter.com/Greeny_Peter

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Skint Part 1: Wages and Productivity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/07/2017 - 6:10am in

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Australia

image/jpeg iconi-didnt-go-to-work-today.jpg

Long read on what is happening with wages in Australia and why arguments that say increasing productivity will make us richer are wrong.

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Final Australian ratings for World Enough and Time

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/07/2017 - 1:18pm in

Including Australian time-shifted viewers, World Enough and Time averaged 534,000 consolidated viewers in the five major capital cities. With 87,000 extra viewers it was the second highest time-shifted program of the day (the highest time-shifted program had 173,000 extra viewers) and the ninth highest rating program of the day overall. These ratings do not include iview or regional viewers.
Media Links: TV Tonight (World Enough And Time ratings)

Doctor Who News

'Straya: Basically, she's rooted mate

Published by Matthew Davidson on Thu, 06/07/2017 - 10:58am in

Charts! Nobody asked for them, but I have them anyway! Over the last few years the Bank for International Settlements have been publishing a fab set of statistics that are not usually brought to bear in the tea leaf reading of mainstream economists. This is a shame, as they are exactly the sort of statistics which would indicate the risk of imminent financial crisis. Last month the BIS updated the data to the end of (calendar year) 2016. Here's an illustration (courtesy of LibreOffice) of where Australia is, relative to some comparable and/or interesting countries (click to embiggen):

As the BIS explains, the Debt Service Ratio (DSR):

"reflects the share of income used to service debt and has been found to provide important information about financial-real interactions. For one, the DSR is a reliable early warning indicator for systemic banking crises. Furthermore, a high DSR has a strong negative impact on consumption and investment."

So as a measure of Australia's ability to pay at least the interest on our private sector debts, if not pay down the principal, you might think this is not a bad result. We clearly substantially delevered after the GFC, thanks in large part to the Rudd stimulus pouring public money into the private sector, then levered up a bit since, but we've ended up between Canada and Sweden, which is a pretty congenial neighbourhood. But this is total private sector debt; what happens when we take business out of the equation and just look at households (and non-profit institutions serving households - NPISHs)?

Woah! Suddenly we're in a league of our own. Canada's flatlined here since the GFC, meaning the subsequent increase in their total private debt burden has largely come from investment in business capital. In such a case, provided this investment is directed at increasing productive capacity, and is accompanied by public sector spending to proportionally increase demand, this is sustainable debt. Australia has been doing the opposite.

Here's another way of looking at the coming Australian debt crisis, private sector credit to GDP:

This ratio will rise whether the level of debt rises, GDP falls, or both, so it's another good indicator of unsustainable debt levels. The current total level (in blue) of over 200% is at about the ratio Japan was at when its real estate bubble burst in the early 1990s. Breaking this down again into household and corporate sectors, we see that over the mid-1990s Australia switched the majority of its private sector borrowing from business investment to sustaining households. What happened in the mid-90s? Data here from the OECD:

 

From the mid-1990s to 2007 Australia experienced the celebrated run of Howard/Costello government fiscal (or "budget") surpluses. We all know, or should know, thanks to Godley's sectoral balances framework, what happens when the public sector runs a surplus: the private sector must run a corresponding deficit, equal to the last penny. There is nowhere else, net of private sector bank credit creation (which zeroes out because every financial asset created in the private sector has a corresponding private sector liability), for money to come from. When the government taxes more than it spends, it is withdrawing money from the private sector. Mainstream economics calls this "sustainable", and "sound finance", meaning of course it is nothing of the sort.

How did the private sector, and the household sector in particular, continue to spend from that point onward, behaving as though losing money (not to mention public infrastructure and services) down the fiscal plughole was not merely benign but quite wonderful? It chose to Nimble it and move on, going on a massive credit binge. The banks were happy to provide all the credit demanded, because the bulk of the lending was ulitimately secured by residential real estate prices, and these were clearly going to keep rising without limit (thank heavens, because if they were to fall like they did in the US in 2007…).

The Global Financial Crisis put a dent in the demand for credit, but as subsequent government fiscal policy has tightened, under the rubric of "budget repair", it is rising again. We are already in a state of debt deflation: Australia's household debt service ratio (as above), at between 15 and 20 percent of household income for over a decade, has dampened domestic demand, leading to rising unemployment and underemployment, leading to more easy credit as a quick fix for income shortfalls ("debtfare"). More of what income remains is redirected to debt servicing rather than consumption, and so we spiral downwards, our incomes purchasing less and less with each turn. [I will post more about some of the social and microeconomic consequences in (over-)due course.]

The Australian government needs to spend much, much more - and quickly. Modern Monetary Theory, drawing on an understanding of the nature of money that goes back a century, shows us that government spending (contrary to conventional wisdom) is not revenue-constrained; a currency-issuing government can always buy anything available for sale in the currency it issues. There is nothing about our collective "budget" that needs repairing before we can do so. The same data from the OECD shows that most currency-issuing governments with advanced industrial economies run fiscal deficits almost all the time:

In fact, under all but exceptional conditions, government fiscal surpluses (i.e. private sector fiscal deficits) are a recipe for recession or depression. The greater the surplus, the greater the subsequent government spending required to lift the private sector out of crisis, as can be seen above in the wild swings in neoliberal governments' fiscal position from the mid-90s on. The fiscal balance over any given period is nothing more than a measurement of the flow of public investment into the private sector. What guarantees meaningful sustainability is a government's effective use of functional finance to manage the real (as opposed to financial) economy in pursuit of public policy objectives. Refusing to mobilise idle resources (including, crucially, labour) for needed public goods and services is not "sound finance"; it is the very definition of economic mismanagement, as was once widely recognised:

"It is true that war-time full employment has been accompanied by efforts and sacrifices and a curtailment of individual liberties which only the supreme emergency of war could justify; but it has shown up the wastes of unemployment in pre-war years, and it has taught us valuable lessons which we can apply to the problems of peace-time, when full employment must be achieved in ways consistent with a free society.

"In peace-time the responsibility of Commonwealth and State Governments is to provide the general framework of a full employment economy, within which the operations of individuals and businesses can be carried on.

"Improved nutrition, rural amenities and social services, more houses, factories and other capital equipment and higher standards of living generally are objectives on which we can all agree. Governments can promote the achievement of these objectives to the limit set by available resources.

"The policy outlined in this paper is that governments should accept the responsibility for stimulating spending on goods and services to the extent necessary to sustain full employment. To prevent the waste of resources which results from [un]employment is the first and greatest step to higher living standards."

Australian Government, 1945, White Paper on Full Employment

We chose to forget all this from the 1980s onward. We can choose to remember it at any time.

eBook Release – Desperately Seeking the Fair Go

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 06/07/2017 - 10:45am in

Most Australians want a more stable and cooperative society, stronger communities and families, more equal distribution of wealth and better care of the environment.

The Internet Presents Opportunities and Challenges for Revitalizing Tasmania's Aboriginal Language

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/07/2017 - 10:10pm in


Horace Watson recording the songs of Fanny Cochrane Smith, one of the last fluent speakers of a Tasmanian language, using an Edison phonograph. The original photograph and a recording are at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. From Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

During British colonization of Tasmania which began in the early 1800s, the Aboriginal people living on the island located to the south of Australia’s mainland not only suffered loss of life, but also loss of their languages. Between six and 12 Tasmanian Aboriginal languages are estimated to have disappeared because few families from the different communities survived and very little of the languages were documented. The only documented audio recording was made by Dr. Horace Watson with Fanny Cochrane Smith in 1899 (photo above).

As a way of rebuilding, the different communities came together to form the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community and created a new composite language called palawa kani retrieved from elements from the original languages. palawa kani is lowercase on purpose — the language does not use capital letters in the same way as English.

Since the early 1990s, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) has been playing a major part in the language revival by teaching and promoting the use of palawa kani in the classroom setting, including in three Aboriginal Child Care centres, as well as with adult education. Camps and workshops are organized on Aboriginal-owned land to provide an immersion experience. One can also hear palawa kani in public settings, such as during the 2004 funeral for Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon, whose eulogy was given in the Aboriginal language. In popular music, Tasmanian Aboriginal singer Dewayne Everettsmith, a former contestant on Australian Idol, performed songs in palawa kani on his international tour. One of the songs that he performs is called milaythina nika mana mapali (This Land is My Land).

Technology and the internet also play a role in helping new learners of palawa kani access multimedia in the language and practice with others. TAC’s regional offices offer digital dictionaries containing a database of words and their histories, as well as a library of videos and audios. And TAC’s online presence on Facebook and YouTube shares interviews, events, and other activities related to language revitalization. The youth from the Centre also took part in the Mother Language Meme Challenge, which was co-organized by Rising Voices in commemoration of International Mother Language Day.


Meme created by youth from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

One of TAC’s newest project involves helping to adapt the animated show Little J and Big Cuz, which features two young Aboriginal children and their family. Each show focuses on a different Aboriginal language. The TAC’s Language Program auditioned local children, helped translate the script into palawa kani, and collaborated with the production. The process is featured in this promo video provided by TAC. The episode, titled “wurakara/Hopalong,” was aired on National Indigenous Television.

The examples documented above and many more like them are made possible by the technologies available today; however, it also can present a challenge for a community that holds a clear idea of with whom and how the language should be shared online.

Annie Reynolds, coordinator of the palawa kani Language Program at TAC, cautions that this information should not yet be available to the general public, “until Aborigines themselves are familiar and competent with it.

Because of that community policy, there was disagreement whether or not information about the language should be made available on platforms such as Wikipedia. Reynolds said in an interview with Rising Voices:

We caution people against the Wikipedia page which claims to present information on palawa kani. This page is completely unauthorised and most of the information on it is incorrect. Some of the information has been copied from materials produced by the palawa kani program and distributed throughout the Aboriginal community. No permission was ever sought from us to reproduce any of that material. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre contacted Wikipedia’s legal department to have the page removed, but were unsuccessful.

This disagreement was highlighted in an article on The Verge, which explored the complexity of this issue of intellectual property on the internet, especially as it applies to Indigenous and Aboriginal communities.

Despite these challenges, it is clear that the TAC sees the enormous potential of the internet and digital technologies to engage community members of all ages through the various channels available. Reynolds added:

The presentation of palawa kani online is to us an opportunity to showcase and promote the language sharing information about the language which the Aboriginal community chooses to share. Most of the online and social media use of palawa kani is in written form. The overall aim of the revival of palawa kani, however, is to have Aborigines speaking our language again, in family and community life. So the focus of our activities is mainly on teaching and encouraging Aborigines of all ages to actually speak it to each other in real life.

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