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Friday lay day – conservative attack dog unleashed on unemployed in Australia

Its the Friday lay day blog. I was travelling back from the South coast of NSW one Sunday a few years ago after giving a talk to a workshop on regional development. We stopped for a break in South Sydney where there was a street fair going on – the normal run-of-the-mill affair. It was centred in the main street of the electorate where Scott Morrison was (and remains) the Member of the Federal House of Representatives. He had a stall at the fair, touting his policies – then as the Opposition spokesperson for immigration. His helpers were nasty types who were raving on about illegal boat people and what Morrison would do to them once they won the next election. They did win it, and he did do it to them. As he shifts his ministerial portfolio from immigration to become the Minister for Social Services, it is worth recalling what his record has been in his last job. Julian Burnside captures it beautifully in his article last Tuesday (December 23, 2014) – Morrison’s calculated cruelty is his legacy – although the sociopathy revealed is anything but beautiful. But there is worse to come.

As the current Federal government starts the first of its death rolls – the first reshuffling of its dysfunctional cabinet, Morrison has now been turned lose on income support recipients and the unemployed. They should be scared. The first victims after the reshuffle are the homeless although the cuts announced on Wednesday are the dirty work of another self-professed Christian Kevin Andrews.

As Julian Burnside concluded:

Morrison’s conduct as immigration minister is impossible to reconcile with his stated Christian beliefs … All things considered, the immigration portfolio will improve by losing Morrison, who has shown himself to be a hypocrite, willing to harm innocent people for political purposes.

Yes, I guess on Xmas day he was preaching holy holy holy with his family while the victims of his oppressive refugee policy were suffering distress in prisons on Manus Island and

The National Housing Council was charged with analysing the state of housing availability in Australia. It released a major report in June 2012 – Housing Supply and Affordability – Key Indicators, 2012 – which documented the worsening housing shortages in Australia.

For some reason the archive file is in .ashx format (a Microsoft format). Download the file and simply rename the extension pdf and you will be able to read it easily.

Under the guise of fiscal cutbacks, the Australian government scrapped the National Housing Council in November 2013.

Now as we going into the holiday season, Morrison’s Department is cutting housing assistance to the disadvantaged and homeless.

This ABC report (December 22, 2014) – Federal Government cuts funding for housing programs, shocking peak bodies – documents the latest dirty work from the Government.

These cuts are just the tip of the iceberg on highly targetted fiscal cuts where the targets are our most vulnerable citizens.

Morrison’s first statement as Minister for Social Services was to announce on Wednesday (December 24, 2014) that “welfare spending would have to be wound back to fund” improvements to the way we treat people with disabilities in Australia.

That treatment borders on deplorable. Once again the conservatives are playing the divide-and-rule tactic. Setting groups of disadvantaged citizens against each other as they propagate the myth that they have run out of money.

He was quoted by the Guardian (Source) as saying:

To relieve the burden on the system it is about getting people off welfare and into work, and to work as much as they are able. This is the goal we are working towards.

At a time that the unemployment and underemployment rates are rising fast and employment growth is flat.

Enjoy the holiday period.

Newcastle Save our Rail community group wins Supreme Court injunction against the sleazy NSW Government

A brief update on the local Newcastle citizen’s struggle to retain our train line and not allow the property developers to gain access to the corridor for their own greedy gain.

Late on Wednesday, the Supreme Court of NSW ruled against the government and imposed an injunction on them from ripping up the train line.

The sleazy strategies that the Government had deployed to dispose of the infrastructure to another government agency to avoid the requirements under the law were rejected by the judge. The matter now goes to appeal.

But it will probably be a Pyrrhic victory because the government has still (today) terminated the services some four stations out of the city centre even though they are not allowed to rip up the lines yet.

But that Pyrrhic victory is still something that gives hope to the local citizens.

The full story of the court decision was a feature article in the Fairfax press yesterday (December 25, 2014) – Newcastle rail line to stay – for now

Joe Cocker gone now

When I was young and just starting out playing in bands we played this version. The song was great but The Beatles was not our cup of tea. Our hair had pretensions to be longer and our parents probably liked the boys from Liverpool. Across the Pennines (to Sheffield) was more to our liking in this case.

The big Hammond sound was the thing.

And now he is gone. Times waits for no-one.

It has to be my song for this week, even though a lot of his later stuff didn’t do it. But that is all relative eh! Here he is at Woodstock.

As an aside, the great tenor sax player Bobby Keyes who we noted died a few weeks ago, played one of Joe Cocker’s great covers – the Box Top’s song The Letter on his 1979 Mad Dogs and Englishmen album. Bobby Keyes’ solo on that song was as funky as it was contained.

Ok, here it is.

We also tried to play this song in our early bands.

Saturday Quiz

The Saturday Quiz will be back again tomorrow. It will be of an appropriate order of difficulty (-:

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2014 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 16 Comments
    1. “So the bottom line is that we have been persuaded to spend about $5 billion a year mistreating innocent people.” – Julian Burnside.

      It’s interesting to note that Morrison has incompetently and dangerously operated an immigration system causing deaths. If he had done the same with a motor vehicle, and that more than once, he might be in some considerable trouble.

      Also, we waste $5 billion annually in resources that could be used for constructive purposes. Surely it would be more humane AND cheaper (win-win) to rescue and bring all boat people to Australia as quickly as possible and process them as quickly as possible; making all resources available to expedite processing. The processing should happen in accordance with all of Australian law, international law and all our international treaty obligations. All genuine claimants could be quickly resettled and all non-genuine claimants quickly repatriated.

      If we feel total net immigration becomes too high due to this process we can slow voluntary immigration in accordance with a population policy which we should be developing in any case. I think refugees are people worth having. They show courage, ingenuity and sacrifice in attempting to save their families. They also show a preference for relocating to seek a peaceable civil life over digging in for violent confrontation. They are the peaceable, constructive, resourceful people you want as immigrants.

    2. If only these Christians treated the unemployed and refugees with as much dignity as they do the child molesters within their church.

    3. Hi bill, a very merry Christmas to you and hope you enjoyed the season of food.

      I’ve only recently found your blog (why didn’t i find it sooner!) and am trying to read as much as I can to catch up and hopefully not ask questions that may have been answered. I’m a big fan of Paula Krugman’s blog and his op-ed pieces on the nytimes but there’s never enough to keep me occupied which is why I’ll be kept very busy now catching up on your past blog entries and learning :-)

      What Morrison has done to refugees and the sheer cost of it is beyond measure. It’s been purely fascist in nearly all of its implementations which is why I think he’s been able to get away with it with enough people – “enemy’s at the gate” Mentality. Horrible. Thanks for laying out how you feel.

      In regards to Morrison moving to social services we can only watch and see what he can get away with on Aussie citizens! But as now his role will impact social housing and benefits its made me start to think about your job guarantee (JG) and some impacts to plan for that could be its undoing in my eyes.

    4. Hi bill, a very merry Christmas to you and hope you enjoyed the season of food.

      I’ve only recently found your blog (why didn’t i find it sooner!) and am trying to read as much as I can to catch up and hopefully not ask questions that may have been answered. I’m a big fan of Paula Krugman’s blog and his op-ed pieces on the nytimes but there’s never enough to keep me occupied which is why I’ll be kept very busy now catching up on your past blog entries and learning :-)

      What Morrison has done to refugees and the sheer cost of it is beyond measure. It’s been purely fascist in nearly all of its implementations which is why I think he’s been able to get away with it with enough people – “enemy’s at the gate” Mentality. Horrible. Thanks for laying out how you feel.

      In regards to Morrison moving to social services we can only watch and see what he can get away with on Aussie citizens! But as now his role will impact social housing and benefits its made me start to think about your job guarantee (JG) and some impacts to plan for that could be its undoing in my eyes.

      Would the JG at minimum wage exclude other benefits like social housing and concession cards etc? If not then any JG would be vulnerable to cuts like Morrison may do. If it does then would the minimum wage need to be means tested based on cost of living measures to make shred the minimum wage can’t be eroded overtime? The reason I ask may be obvious as any change if givernment seems to involve a change of the playing field and it could be radically undermined over time to ideologically remove it.

      I hope I didn’t miss any part of the JG articke that may have addressed those issues. I have more questiond but will start with that.

      Thanks for your blog!
      Jason

      Ps it would be great if you could add a refresh button just for the anti-spam question as that would help not having to red fresh the whole page and the chance of losing my list as has almost happened a few times. Thankfully got to cut and paste the above and the refresh.

    5. There’s an obvious problem for the anti-EU left in the UK come next May’s elections. Should they, for once, side with UKIP and the Tories in the hope of a promised EU referendum in 2017?

      Labour aren’t much of an alternative economically with all their talk of balanced budgets and welfare cuts. But at least they don’t have politicians quite like Scott Morrison.

      Maybe an abstention is the best option?

    6. Ikonoclast, I’ve been critical of what you have written in previous blogs, but not this time. You show real heart and I agree completely with everything you have said. The sad thing for you, Bill, and me is that the incredibly humane policy you outline hasn’t a cat’s chance in hell of being implemented with the psychopaths currently in government.

      I don’t know what the public reaction in Australia is to these policies but Osborne’s Autumn Statement, given in Winter, lost the Tories a significant amount of support. Though not enough to ensure their defeat at the upcoming election. This loss of support was enhanced by a BBC Radio 5 presenter contending that Osborne’s policies would take the UK back to the 1930s. This indicated to me that most of the public don’t understand the consequences of his policies or what they mean in concrete terms. Perhaps more such associations should be broadcast for every statement these ba**rds make, a kind of negative quid pro quo.

    7. Bill!
      Best wishes for christmas/holiday season.
      As a former Novocastrian thanks for the update on the Trains and links to great music as per usual!

      I would be so proud if the workers given the task of ripping up that railway line put down the tools, turned off the machines and flat out refused to perform the task. There are massive fines for this sort of thing though (‘industrial relations laws’ i believe they are inappropriately called).
      How can Scott Morrison even appear in public these days? Would’nt people be trying to do a citizens arrest on him? (there was that lawyer who was going to do it to Howard for the iraq war but the latest liberals make him look moderate). You really did spot the true christmas scrooge Bill.

      Note: as you mentioned previously about the trains providing access to newcastles iconic surfing beaches. That reminds me: Nothing better than the left and right hand break at ‘the reef’ on nobbys beach especially with a long board (its like a cruising caddilac). Or ‘the pipe’, ‘the wedge’ or ‘harbour’ for the more technical short board/bogey board ride.

    8. Bill,Sorry I’m late to comment,weather’s held up my times at work,hope your well.
      @reborn
      I’m always playing catch up and I’d say your going somewhere too,Paul K is an expert in global financial markets working in multiple disciplines,raging from trading independently to running exchanges.

    9. Bill,
      Whats the go with retail sales , last I heard that most people were giving envelopes of cash,and since I’ve been hearing that the shopping’s on the go,
      Where I now see their lining up for the sales, if things are this strong,then it might be looking up for the workforce after all.
      Let’s hope so

    10. THE CAMBODIAN CAPER
      towards a final solution

      Mad Dog and the Minister
      face the cameras
      smiling reptile smiles
      Not a word spoken
      Champagne glasses
      in hand
      crashed trays
      of glasses
      (you hadda be there)
      rent a felon
      crowd
      empty handed
      unsmiling
      as if
      this criminal vileness
      is even
      too odorous
      for those
      who we thought
      could go no lower
      be more corrupt
      feel
      well, anything,
      really
      The fix
      is in
      the papers
      signed
      sealed
      delivered
      the victims
      to be
      delivered up
      to no
      tender
      mercies
      but
      for sure
      the papers
      will be
      in order
      i’s dotted
      t’s crossed
      all
      in order
      Alles
      in Ordnung

      Just like Eichmann

    11. laerreal,

      I don’t know if it is just the Brisbane area, but I work in retail and have personally noticed a worrying trend. My own store, as well as almost every store I walk into, customers are spending lots of money but are getting poor service because businesses have slashed their workforce. Wait times for service and payment are longer from HiFi stores, to coffee shops, to supermarkets, to bakers, and butchers alike. I have worked a lot of Christmases in retail and hospitality and I can tell you right now the staff to customers ratio has never been so out-of-whack.

      After speaking to a few franchise owners, I am getting the impression that because rents and electricity costs have skyrocketed the last 24 months, and everyone is afraid to lose market share by increasing prices, the only place left employers feel they can survive is cutting staff.

      I have an inkling this is not just the case in my industries. Instead of raising prices or negotiating better deals with landlords or electricity providers, firms are cutting staff, and because customers are getting pretty BAD service everywhere, it’s not like they can simply go to a competitor because they will certainly have the same problem. It makes sense from a microeconomic point of view, but with unemployment and underemployment where it is, it is a macroeconomic disaster.

      Just you wait, the real problems will not be addressed. This will be the conservatives’ golden opportunity to rip away or maim penalty rates, freeze minimum wage hikes, take away paid 10-minute breaks, and further relax laws on 457 visa employment in order to “fix the problem”, and then adopt a Mercantilist position on the need for Australia to become a net exporter for the first time in 50 years when the domestic workers lose the bulk of their disposable income. I can almost guarantee this will be the outcome.

    12. The timetables for the buses and trains have already been changed. The trains are going as far as Broadmeadow and then it is buses from there. This will be a disaster as it will add time to the journeys of people coming from the Central Coast, Toronto, and Maitland.
      Moreover, those using bus services in Newcastle /Lake Macquarie will now have to wait while train passengers board onto their already over loaded busses. It’s disaster.

      However, the real problem isn’t about travel or indeed inconvenience. The problem is about democracy being nothing more than a sick joke when those with money and influence determine policies by buying politicians.

      But what would you expect from a country that has a foreigner as Prime Minister.

    13. Compliments of the season to you and yours Bill and look forward to many more stimulating and enlightening observations in the coming year. Best wishes Mike

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