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Thread: Some real Aussie Politics

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    Default Some real Aussie Politics

    An interesting article by Greg Sheridan. Some real Oz Politics, for a change for those looking for more than screeching lefties... not that this article ignores the left:

    Ironically, after I left the union movement as an organiser and went to work for The Bulletin in 1979, I was to learn a lot more about the semi-secret world of union elections and Labor’s internal ideological struggles.

    The NSW Right of the Labor Party (especially the Labor Council) and BA Santamaria’s anti-communist National Civic Council, co-operated closely in two big internal union elections in which they opposed the Left, while I was at The Bulletin.

    The first was a sustained effort to challenge the control of the Communist Party and the far Left in what was then the Amalgamated Metalworkers Union. The AMWU was the most powerful union in the country and the jewel in the Communist Party’s crown. Paul Keating thought its militancy had cost tens of thousands of Australians their jobs.

    The campaign to dislodge the left from the AMWU, which was ultimately unsuccessful, went on all the years I was at The Bulletin (1979 to 1984) and beyond.

    The NCC was a proscribed organisation in the ALP, and ALP members were not allowed to belong to it or co-operate with it too closely.

    But at ACTU conferences and the like, the Labor Right worked hand-in-glove with NCC union leaders.

    Theoretically the ALP does not endorse or participate in any union ballot. For three decades, however, this was a complete fiction, at least until the late 1980s. Left-wing ALP officers helped left-wing candidates in union elections and right-wing ALP officers helped right-wing candidates in union elections. Everybody on the inside knew this but it was one of the weird silences of Australian politics because no one could really report on it.

    The push against the Left in the AMWU was all of a piece with Bob Hawke’s strategy to bring the big four right-wing unions controlled or influenced by the NCC — the clerks, shop assistants, ironworkers and carpenters — back into the ALP itself. This was part of Hawke’s effort to permanently change the ALP.

    Hawke was an immensely successful prime minister. He all but destroyed the Left’s influence on foreign policy and national security. Like Gough Whitlam before him, Hawke reformed the internal workings of the party to reduce the influence of the Left. He worked at this for years before he entered parliament. The difference with Whitlam was that in power Hawke never fell to relying on the Left to protect his leadership. Hawke’s strongest supporter was Kim Beazley, who had views on national security, the US alliance and Australian defence that the Left hated.

    The resources of The Bulletin were used in a modest way to help the AMWU challengers. At a Sydney function that Bob Carr and I attended, Bob organised for one of The Bulletin’s photographers to take a posed photograph of a right-wing challenger, Charlie Bali, who was standing against the AMWU ruling team for the position of national organiser. This photo did not involve Hawke officially endorsing Bali. But it was a massive boost for Bali and used extensively in his campaign literature. The Left were ropeable when they saw it.
    Perhaps the sense of being under threat because of their extremism contributed to the AMWU’s relative moderation under Hawke’s wages accord.

    Another campaign the NCC and the Labor Council co-operated on was for Ivan Pagett when he challenged the Left’s control of the NSW Teachers Federation in 1982. Bob O’Connell, the NSW president of the NCC, asked me to have a look at some of the literature that would be sent out on behalf of Pagett’s candidacy.

    By then I was relaxed in my identity as a journalist and often pretty intimately involved in the affairs of various contacts. My main contribution to the Pagett campaign was to find quotes from both Neville Wran and Nick Greiner to the effect that the Teachers Federation’s behaviour had hurt the reputation of teachers. Pagett won that election but only served one term and was unable to change the political orientation of the union.

    The Labor Council and the NCC co-operated cautiously in this sort of thing and with some distance between them but they did co-operate. I hosted a small function at my parents’ home to generate some support for Vietnamese refugees. I invited the most influential people I knew who I thought might be sympathetic. Michael Easson, the deputy leader of the Labor Council, and Bob O’Connell were both there and fell to talking.

    Later, on a couple of occasions they came over together to my house and I would leave them alone in the lounge room to have a cup of tea. Michael never met Bob Santamaria. At the funeral of Richard Krygier, the legendary Polish exile who had founded Quadrant, some years later, Michael was going to introduce himself to Santa. But Bob O’Connell, concerned perhaps that Michael might damage his standing within the Labor Party by doing so, grabbed his arm and said: “Probably not a good idea, Michael.”

    One of the best leaders of the Labor Council, until he left at the end of 1983 to become a full-time politician, was Barrie Unsworth, who succeeded John Ducker. The Communist Party newspaper, Tribune, once described Unsworth as “the hardest liner of them all”. As premier, with his conservative back to basics campaign, Unsworth attracted Tony Abbott’s vote and nearly attracted him to joining the Labor Party. The NSW election which Unsworth went to as premier, in 1988, was the only time Tony voted Labor.

    Unsworth was tough-minded when he needed to be in the interests of union members and certainly willing to back strike action. But he was never trying to smash capitalism. He wanted the economy to work. At one ALP conference Unsworth famously labelled the Left “north shore fascists” and “back yard marijuana growers”.

    But despite the efforts of men as competent as Unsworth, big unions had become almost impervious to their members’ wishes about who made up their leadership. They structured themselves in a way that made it almost impossible to dislodge a ruling group. First, there would be a lot of elections. This may seem democratic, but generally in a union the turnout is very small. Repeated elections tend to exhaust potential challengers.

    Also, every time a union organiser does something for a union member, he tries to recruit the member’s goodwill for the incumbent leadership. Even if a dissident is elected to a full-time official’s position, they will typically be faced with such ferocious isolation and psychological intimidation, and in some unions even physical intimidation, that they ultimately wilt and resign.

    Campaigning in unions costs money. A serious challenging group may want to send out three mailings in the course of a campaign. If a union has 200,000 members this is immensely expensive. The idea that a few dissatisfied rank-and-file members could mount any kind of serious challenge is a fantasy. That is why so many unions are so inherently undemocratic. Plenty of serious challenges did take place, nonetheless, and sometimes they were successful. But they needed outside resources.

    Left-wing unions would give money to left-wing challengers in right-wing unions. And sometimes right-wing unions would donate money to right-wing challengers in left-wing unions.

    Union leaderships needed money to defend themselves, so that incumbents could send out their own campaign literature, as theoretically they could not spend union money on this. As a result many unions had fighting funds. Sometimes officials contributed part of their salaries to this. But raising money for unions from business was the real key. Businesses might advertise in union journals or buy tables at union fundraisers.

    There was also a great deal of corporate giving, little of which was ever disclosed. When Ducker was the boss of the Labor Council he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from business for use in union elections. There is no evidence that any of this money was ever misused.

    Ducker sought and received donations from Kerry Packer. A lot of donations were mediated through companies associated with the Metal Trades Industry Association. In 1984, coincidentally the year I left The Bulletin, the Labor Council decided not to have anything to do with unions’ internal elections any more. The Fraser government passed legislation requiring both unions and companies to be more transparent in their financial disclosures. There was a last donation from business of a couple of hundred thousand dollars in cash that was kept for a time in the Labor Council safe. Some of this money went to the ALP for election purposes.

    The corporate money going to internal union elections, which was known in the broad by a lot of people, was another weird silence in Australian politics.

    The Labor Party had other institutional assistance resisting the communists and their allies. Occasionally ASIO officers would meet senior Labor Party office-holders to tell them about communist efforts at infiltration of the ALP, especially about ALP members who might be dual cardholders of the Communist Party. Much has been made of ASIO’s occasional liaison with the NCC. ASIO also had systematic liaison with the ALP. Some ASIO officers tried to recruit Labor figures as regular informants on the communists they came in contact with.

    Big business also gave a lot of money to Santamaria for use in union elections. In Sydney, most of this went through the former Democratic Labor Party senator Jack Kane, who became a close friend of Tony Abbott and of mine. Tony Abbott was such a close friend of Jack’s that he ghosted Jack’s memoirs, Exploding the Myths.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Part 2


    In the finished book you can see some of the characteristic Abbott writing style, although he laboured well and effectively to maintain the sense of Jack’s voice. In the foreword of his book, which was published posthumously just after his death, Jack thanked a few people by name but didn’t mention Tony. Instead he also thanked unnamed friends and colleagues and said that “certain considerations of prudence ... restrain further enumeration”.

    Jack is forgotten now but he was once a big figure in Australian politics. Before the great Labor split of the 50s he had been assistant secretary of the ALP in NSW. In some ways, Jack was the last of his type, the very embodiment of the traditional Irish-Australian Catholic Labor man.

    He was all the good Irish stereotypes rolled into one. He loved a drink, loved a yarn, he could talk forever about the past but never lost interest in the present. He had all the blarney and Gaelic charm of the great Americans of his type, such as Tip O’Neill, a type that is gone now as the overt Irishness of American and Australian populations is wearing off over the generations.

    It was this charm that made Jack a gifted fundraiser. He told me once of ringing Packer for a donation after Packer had suffered some car accident or illness: “What if you’d died with my cheque in your pocket?” he demanded.

    In the last years of his life, Jack ran an outfit called Industrial Data. This was basically a fundraising operation for Santamaria’s union campaigns.

    Part of it involved the production of an “insider” newsletter, giving gossip and policy analysis of union politics. Businesses paid handsomely for this newsletter.

    Occasionally if Jack’s colleague was on leave or ill, I would anonymously write Jack’s Industrial Data newsletter for him, generally after ringing one or two sympathetic union officials for some insider stuff. Tony Abbott very occasionally wrote these newsletters for Jack as well.

    So, in a previous life, many decades ago, albeit in the most marginal way imaginable, the Prime Minister was also involved in raising business money for right-wing unions.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    ASIO (in it's most shameful incarnation), Catholic Acton, Santamaria………. and Sheridan. And now Abbott………
    Huh. I'm old enough to remember all that including the subverting of unions by right and left.

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    Indeed. The good old days,eh? It even has a mention of the old Labor Premier who used to zip everywhere in a helicopter
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Fascinating...seriously!

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    Arcane Aussie politics from the 19590's, but based on prejudice and fear as always.
    I'll find a link if you like. Ian will to, there are several versions of this history, it being comparatively recent.

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Arcane Aussie politics from the 19590's, but based on prejudice and fear as always.
    I'll find a link if you like. Ian will to, there are several versions of this history, it being comparatively recent.
    "there are several versions of this history"
    I should have known!_

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Longino View Post
    "there are several versions of this history"
    I should have known!_

    The left (you Americans would call them Commies - our right in politics is about where your left is, if that makes sense to you northern hemispherers?) always has at least their version that they prefer to the truth
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by The Bigfella View Post
    The left (you Americans would call them Commies - our right in politics is about where your left is, if that makes sense to you northern hemispherers?) always has at least their version that they prefer to the truth

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    Here's an interesting piece. Came across it on the ABC, whilst looking into why it is that Adam Goodes has been getting booed a lot.

    After a career spent in jobs reserved for Indigenous Australians, Kerryn Pholi has had enough of being a "professional Aborigine". Far from closing the gap, she now believes these strategies are racist.

    I am a person of Aboriginal descent. This is nothing special; all it means is that I could trace my ancestry back to a stone-age way of life more easily, with far fewer steps, than most readers.

    When I think about my Aboriginal ancestry, I feel gratitude. I feel gratitude because modernity has given me a life of ease, pleasure and privilege beyond anything an Aboriginal woman in pre-invasion Australia could possibly imagine. As a person of Aboriginal descent, and a female at that, I am grateful that I had the good fortune to be born here in Australia in 1975, and not here in say, 1775.

    Perhaps life for my Aboriginal ancestors (the Bundjalung people of what is now northern NSW) had its good points prior to invasion, just as European life around 5,000 BC couldn't have been all bad ... though nobody seems to miss that particular lifestyle much or yearn to have it back.

    Perhaps some readers are disgusted that a person with Aboriginal ancestry would be grateful to the 'white invaders', given the historical horrors they brought upon 'my people'. Nonsense; I can feel gratitude for my personal good fortune without needing to be grateful to anyone in particular.

    I don't feel particularly proud to be Aboriginal. No-one likes to see a skinhead thumping his chest and saying he is proud to be white; how is pride in an Aboriginal racial identity any different? And yet in a way I am proud of my Aboriginal ancestors.

    Some Aboriginal people say they are proud to be survivors. They are proud to be members of a (somewhat nebulous) racial/cultural group that has survived (sort of) for thousands of years.

    I don't share that perspective, but I have my own version of 'survivor pride'. The fact that I am here, with a bit of Aboriginal in my genetic mix, means that at some point my Aboriginal ancestors had the wit to take advantage of what was on offer, and so they survived where others did not. I feel pride that my forbears had the sense to discard unhelpful traditions and cultural attitudes, and make the best of their lot for themselves and their offspring.

    Unfortunately for me, I did not inherit the smarts of my Aboriginal ancestors. While they were obviously willing to do what they could to make the best of their situation, I simply can't do it anymore.

    I used to identify as Aboriginal, and I have worked in 'identified' government positions only open to Aboriginal people. As a professional Aborigine, I could harangue a room full of people with real qualifications and decades of experience with whatever self-serving, uninformed drivel that happened to pop into my head. For this nonsense I would be rapturously applauded, never questioned, and paid well above my qualifications and experience.

    I worked in excellent organisations that devoted resources to recruiting, elevating and generally indulging people like me, simply because other people like me told these organisations that's what they needed to do to 'overcome Indigenous disadvantage'.

    In these organisations I worked alongside dedicated, talented and highly skilled people - and there may have been room for one more dedicated, talented and highly skilled person if I hadn't been there occupying a position designated for someone of my 'race'.

    In my years of working as a professional Aborigine, I don't think I did anything that really helped anybody much at all, and I know that I was a party to unfairness, abuses of power, wastefulness and plain silliness in the name of 'reconciliation' and 'cultural sensitivity'.

    Aside from a nagging sense of feeling like a complete fraud, things were reasonably OK until I made the mistake of reading works by Kwame Anthony Appiah, Amartya Sen's Identity and Violence and Thomas Sowell's Affirmative action around the world: an empirical study. (Please - stop reading what I have to say right now. Go and read this instead).

    After that, I could no longer ignore the fact that my career was built on racism. Not 'reverse racism' or 'positive discrimination' - just plain racism, of benefit to nobody except a select gang of privileged people with the right genes and a piece of paper to prove it. In other words, of benefit only to people like me.

    About 18 months ago I burned my 'proof of Aboriginality' documentation (a letter from the NSW Department of Education acknowledging that I was Aboriginal, on the basis that my local Aboriginal Lands Council at that time, circa 1990, had said so). I walked away from the Aboriginal industry for good.

    It hasn't been easy, and I am still working out what to do with myself from here, but it has been rewarding. It feels great to simply identify as a human being, and to work alongside colleagues that only know me as another ordinary wage-slave, and not as a pampered mascot with the power to ruin a career with an accusation of 'insensitivity'.

    It also feels good to do proper work; sitting around a government office essentially being paid to be Aboriginal is both undignified and boring. I miss the money of course, but I don't miss the racism.

    If you are an Aboriginal person with the literacy and media access to be reading this, you are not 'disadvantaged'; you are one of the most fortunate people on the planet. You don't need special assistance because you are Aboriginal, you are not owed recompense because you are Aboriginal, nor do you possess special powers to perform tasks that others could not.

    To accept preferential treatment on the basis of one's race - in employment, academe, the arts, the media - is to participate in racism. It does not 'close the gap', promote role-models or let you 'challenge the system from within'.

    To genuinely challenge racism we need to stop rationalising our individual self-interest, reject preferential treatment, compete in the open market for jobs, grants and audiences, and accept the financial and career consequences of refusing to be bought.

    Kerryn Pholi has worked in Indigenous research and policy in various government agencies and NGOs. View her full profile here.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    I think, given the attitudes down this way, success or not might depend on appearance. And though it's a personal choice for Ms Pholi, it is redolent of assimilation policies in the past. I hope she succeeds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    I think, given the attitudes down this way, success or not might depend on appearance. And though it's a personal choice for Ms Pholi, it is redolent of assimilation policies in the past. I hope she succeeds.
    I'm not with you on the issue of appearance. Sure, you get that at times... I've seen the old school tie thing, more recently, I've seen the Brit public school thing, but the world's a very different place these days. It's several decades now since I saw the solid Anglo Saxon workplace. There's well over 6 million Aussies now who were born overseas.... and many more short-termers in the country, be they tourists, or on student or working visas. All of that has aided assimilation, of course.... except where those who want to fight assimilation, as Pholi has pointed out and play the games that we see around here from time to time.

    Re Goodes. I don't see it as a racism issue. He's stuck it to a 13 year old girl... who was clearly out of line, but she was a 13 year old girl. He's then continued to stick it to opposition crowds... and they've given it back. Race in this country is, more often than not, raised by those wanting to be rabble rousers, it is not a limiting or overarching issue for most people.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    I think the fact that she was 13 is the reason for the renewed effort against racism, and I don't have much sympathy for her.
    I also think that enough was enough for Goodes and it's OK with me. When I joined the forum I was doing a lot of work for recruitment agencies, and the advice to a person claiming to be or looking aboriginal was to advise the person to claim Sri Lankan ancestry. There is a lot of hostility to Australia's original inhabitants amongst the anglo descendants, and I still recon it's guilt. Every time I go out round Western Port I am aware of how much my ancestors stole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    I think the fact that she was 13 is the reason for the renewed effort against racism, and I don't have much sympathy for her.
    I also think that enough was enough for Goodes and it's OK with me. When I joined the forum I was doing a lot of work for recruitment agencies, and the advice to a person claiming to be or looking aboriginal was to advise the person to claim Sri Lankan ancestry. There is a lot of hostility to Australia's original inhabitants amongst the anglo descendants, and I still recon it's guilt. Every time I go out round Western Port I am aware of how much my ancestors stole.
    You might have guilt, but I'm damned if I know why. I have no guilt, nor did my ancestors steal anything (that I'm aware of).

    edit... I don't have sympathy for her... but I don't have sympathy for the crap Goodes copped for going after her. He's no hero, going after a kid. What she did isn't justifiable in any sense... but one doesn't attack kids.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Being a descendant of a first fleet guest of HM, and knowing that his wife was a Tasmanian Aboriginal, and knowing what transpired all over the country if not actual guilt I am aware that what we took cannot be repaid. That said, there could have been worse colonisers, the Spanish and the Portugese come to mind.
    I guess like many things we look at it differently, and maybe having no children means I look at it differently as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Being a descendant of a first fleet guest of HM, and knowing that his wife was a Tasmanian Aboriginal, and knowing what transpired all over the country if not actual guilt I am aware that what we took cannot be repaid. That said, there could have been worse colonisers, the Spanish and the Portugese come to mind.
    I guess like many things we look at it differently, and maybe having no children means I look at it differently as well.
    Yep. Name a country on this planet that hasn't been invaded at some stage.

    .... but I come back to what you said "what we took". Eh? I refuse to be judged on the deeds of some mythical ancestor's actions or for that matter, skin colour... nor do I judge anyone else on the basis of their skin colour, religion or sexual orientation.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    You can't deny the history of Australia, or the mess that was deliberately made right from the start. But hopefully that will change.
    But I won't hold my breath.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    You can't deny the history of Australia, or the mess that was deliberately made right from the start. But hopefully that will change.
    But I won't hold my breath.
    I've never denied the history of Australia. What's to be achieved there? I've questioned some of the revisionist pap that's come out. Pholi raised a very interesting point, among others... about how she's so fortunate to have been born in 1975, not as an indigenous woman here two hundred years earlier. There's a lot that's positive. Some folks wanting to bog down in the negative.... and that's where they'll stay.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    I would like to think that as a community we could go beyond difference. But I doubt it, as you touched on earlier we are still a tribal species and fear of the other is a time worn tactic of divide and rule. And there are many who benefit from keeping society segregated, and many who prefer it that way.

    I might add Ian I am enjoying the exchange.

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    The way to unite our society is to stop throwing in artificial divides. The animosity among various members of the "Aboriginal Industry" (as Pholi calls it) is no different to the divides that exist in the union movement, in political parties, etc. The unifying theme is simple. It's Australia. The racist crap that gets thrown about, including "whitebread" and the like is destabilising. Australia, for Australians. Start dividing that at your peril.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    "The way to unite our society is to stop throwing in artificial divides. The animosity among various members of the "Aboriginal Industry" (as Pholi calls it) is no different to the divides that exist in the union movement, in political parties,"
    Ian, that is what most humans are like. When it comes down to it a large majority can be bought.

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    That would be as unreasonable as asking any other "industry" to agree and cooperate in every respect , a rather utopian dream I'd say.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    You mean acting like a co-operative? Or a cartel?

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    It's more important to chase some leftist ideal than to make progress, eh?

    Meanwhile

    Former Labor trade minister Simon Crean is urging Bill Shorten to support the China Free Trade Agreement and to pass the deal before the end of the year to secure tariff reductions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for vital Australian industries.


    Mr Crean, a former Labor leader, former ACTU boss and the man who entered Australia into the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, yesterday defended the China FTA as a tool to grow economic opportunities and jobs for Australian workers amid a fierce union campaign against the deal.

    “World trade is a multiplier of economic growth. If people are looking for job opportunities and advanced incomes, the path to that is in opening up trade,” he told The Australian.

    “They (Labor) should not vote against the agreement.”

    Mr Crean warned that ongoing bipartisanship for the deal was critical and urged its passage through parliament this year.

    “I think the sooner it’s ratified, the better. It shouldn’t be hastily ratified if there are still certain issues that should be resolved. Let’s get the parties talking.”

    In a sign the militant construction union is locked into turning Labor voters and MPs against the agreement, it upped the ante in its campaign by launching an advertisement last night on the MasterChef prime-time slot on the Ten Network.

    The 45-second advertisement features a family scene, with the father telling his son across the kitchen table that he “wouldn’t even get a look in” because, under the deal, Chinese companies could bring in their own workers without first advertising locally.

    Unions argue that if the agreement is not changed, it should be scuttled by Labor, with West Australian Labor senator Sue Lines telling an anti-FTA rally in Brisbane yesterday that the opposition would “stop what we can that disadvantages our trade, our workers (and) our unions”.

    Having marshalled their numbers to buttress Mr Shorten’s leadership over boat turnbacks at the national conference, a coalition of Right and Left unions has secured a guarantee that Labor will now explore “every possible option” to attach safeguards to protect local workers in the FTA.

    The move has concerned some industry groups, who expressed alarm that the Opposition Leader was obliged to stall the agreement to explore changes, pushing out its expected start-date from November into early next year.

    This would delay by one year, the start of valuable tariff reductions — a move that would cost vital industries up to $300 million a year, with the Minerals Council of Australia warning the coal export trade alone would face an extra impost of $110m.

    At the heart of the dispute lies a disagreement between Labor and the Coalition over the strength of the requirements on Chinese investors to test the market for Australian workers before they bring in skilled migrants.

    Mr Crean cited Trade Minister Andrew Robb’s assurance that there “had to be the offering of a job to Australians first” under the existing foreign labour provisions, but said that the concerns of unions needed to be addressed constructively and effectively by the government. “I think failing to embrace a sensible bipartisanship approach does run the risk of politicising it and this isn’t going to be resolved by the politics — it’s going to be resolved by the soundness of its policy,” he said.

    Mr Robb has already shot down the prospect of bowing to Labor demands that he attach further safeguards to the agreement, slamming what he said was a xeno*phobic and misinformed union campaign.

    “Labor’s sadly sort of being told to do the same by the union heavies, to query these things, even though all the detail is there for them to see,” he told ABC radio.

    “This is a great deal for Australia and the unions need to pull their head in.”

    The warning was echoed by the Australian Mines and Metals Association yesterday, with chief executive Steve Knott urging Mr Shorten to move beyond “hysteria and opportunism”.

    “Notwithstanding what he may owe unions after the weekend’s stage-managed ALP national conference, it’s time for Mr Shorten and the ALP to rise above the politics of opposition and support this historic trade deal with our largest trading partner,” Mr Knott said. “This agreement makes clear that skilled overseas labour will only be used to supplement shortages in the Australian labour market, and represents no threat to local jobs, conditions and wages.”

    Mr Shorten said yesterday Labor was committed to ensuring jobs were not “thrown on the scrap heap”. “I sincerely hope that ... (Tony) Abbott and his team are not so keen to sell out Australian jobs and they’ll work co-operatively with the Labor team to get the best deal,” he said. “We believe in improving our trade relations with China — indeed all of the emerging economies of Asia — and the established economies.”
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    The problem is no one trusts the politicians of any stripe to be competent, ethical or above self interest. There are plenty of examples to cite, Bronny being the latest. Then to negotiate in secret and expect to be trusted? The fact that business groups are so keen is another reason for distrust of the whole process.
    Now it may be that the whole process is fair and above board, but the ethics of those pushing it put the whole process under a cloud. The resistance of a few unions may be just 'business as usual', but t's also about retaining their receding membershp, power and relevance.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    The problem is no one trusts the politicians of any stripe to be competent, ethical or above self interest. There are plenty of examples to cite, Bronny being the latest. Then to negotiate in secret and expect to be trusted? The fact that business groups are so keen is another reason for distrust of the whole process.
    Now it may be that the whole process is fair and above board, but the ethics of those pushing it put the whole process under a cloud. The resistance of a few unions may be just 'business as usual', but t's also about retaining their receding membershp, power and relevance.
    Don't assume that your mistrust is a universally held view. It isn't.

    Bronny? Storm in a teacup.

    Ask Bob Carr, the guy who told me he wanted to be remembered for saving the rivers of NSW (tell me about Labor's coal seam gas and mining rorts, please Bob) how many hours he spent in helicopters at taxpayers expense. It's been a convenient distraction for a non-performing leader away from a very damaging issue he was facing.

    Ask BS about that ill-gotten money for his campaign.

    Ask the SA Treasurer about his $52k four day trip.

    Ask........ and on it goes.

    Business groups keen? You'd rather they be disinterested? Why? Oh, I forgot, Swan proved that money grows on trees, that debt has no consequences. Riiiight.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Blue View Post
    This claim is oft-repeated here in the Bilge, so much so, it bears looking into. While I believe that Liberals in OZ are generally more progressive than Republicans in the US, analogizing them straight with the American Left misses the mark, imho. Reading Mr. Abbott's quotes in the press from time to time does not have him sounding like a core leftist in the US (rather, he sounds like a centrist Republican on most issues), nor do the Liberal Party Beliefs read in substance like the Democrat party platform.

    Indeed, certain of these beliefs are arguably more conservative than some of the core principles of the Republican party. For example, neither party claims that a mutuality obligation as associated with entitlements ought to exist. Indeed, the concept that welfare bludgers might have an obligation to pay something back or contribute in some other way that might benefit society is usually jeered at, or worse. Indeed, "entitlements" are often claimed on the basis of grievance or victimhood, and there is no need to pay back something one is entitled to (or "owed") in the first place. Good on the Liberals for their responsible position.

    There may be outlier issues attributable to factors other than partisan politics in the US that could lead one to believe that the Liberal Party is analogous to the American Left (gun control might be one of these, other social issues, perhaps), but in general, I don't believe that Liberals in Australia are representative of the American Left.
    Take a look at our health system
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Bronny may HAVE been a storm in a teacup, but she has made it more than that herself. But of course she's not the only one past or present and the arrangements need to be taken out of the hands of the beneficiaries. Which is a sad indictment on the ethics, or lack of, of our politician and probably of their electoral office's staff as well.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky Blue View Post
    This claim is oft-repeated here in the Bilge, so much so, it bears looking into. While I believe that Liberals in OZ are generally more progressive than Republicans in the US, analogizing them straight with the American Left misses the mark, imho. Reading Mr. Abbott's quotes in the press from time to time does not have him sounding like a core leftist in the US (rather, he sounds like a centrist Republican on most issues), nor do the Liberal Party Beliefs read in substance like the Democrat party platform.

    Indeed, certain of these beliefs are arguably more conservative than some of the core principles of the Republican party. For example, neither party claims that a mutuality obligation as associated with entitlements ought to exist. Indeed, the concept that welfare bludgers might have an obligation to pay something back or contribute in some other way that might benefit society is usually jeered at, or worse. Indeed, "entitlements" are often claimed on the basis of grievance or victimhood, and there is no need to pay back something one is entitled to (or "owed") in the first place. Good on the Liberals for their responsible position.

    There may be outlier issues attributable to factors other than partisan politics in the US that could lead one to believe that the Liberal Party is analogous to the American Left (gun control might be one of these, other social issues, perhaps), but in general, I don't believe that Liberals in Australia are representative of the American Left.
    The current right of Australian politics , that being the right wing of the Liberal party would dearly love to institute the full raft of US style noecon policies .... including completely privatizing health and education. The public however is a lot more sane and rather likes the way things are now.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Bronny may HAVE been a storm in a teacup, but she has made it more than that herself. But of course she's not the only one past or present and the arrangements need to be taken out of the hands of the beneficiaries. Which is a sad indictment on the ethics, or lack of, of our politician and probably of their electoral office's staff as well.
    At the moment Bronny is doing a wonderful job for Labor, she's a walking sign post of arrogance and privilege.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Bronny may HAVE been a storm in a teacup, but she has made it more than that herself. But of course she's not the only one past or present and the arrangements need to be taken out of the hands of the beneficiaries. Which is a sad indictment on the ethics, or lack of, of our politician and probably of their electoral office's staff as well.
    I suspect that those arrangements WERE out of her hands. One would hardly want someone in a position like that doing all her own taxi bookings, eh?

    As was said on one of the three hundred damn comments I've seen on the over-blown thing, she probably had a flight out of Canberra that arrived at 5:30... was due at 6:00.... some brightspark thought... "chopper".

    The political process is such that there's a lot of travel involved. I've been with politicians and seen them making the arrangements. I've been with, for example, the then NSW Environment Minister's Chief of Staff (and the Minister) and watched him coordinating movements down to the minute. I doubt that he (the Labor Minister) saw himself as a beneficiary. It's a cost of them doing the job. Can that cost be reduced? Sure. Is that cost monitored? Sure... at probably a cost equal to, or exceeding the cost of the damn travel.

    The sad indictment is that the rules are so damn complex that it takes more to monitor and enforce them than makes any sense whatsoever.

    ... and Bronny is coming up to '73. Bit old eh?
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    "... and Bronny is coming up to '73. Bit old eh? "

    OY!!!!

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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    At the moment Bronny is doing a wonderful job for Labor, she's a walking sign post of arrogance and privilege.
    Tell us again about the union members flicking, what was it, $65,000 to BS in a sweetheart deal. Holding wages down, etc, etc. Arrogance and privilege indeed
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    "... and Bronny is coming up to '73. Bit old eh? "

    OY!!!!

    Well, if the cap fits.....

    .... and I'm not sure I want to see Bronny in a cap.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Some real Aussie Politics

    Anyway, she's doing Labor proud at the moment, I hope Tony keeps her on! Don't weaken Tony ! Stay the course !!!!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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