Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Real Aussie Values by First Dog on the Moon

The changing face of the Australian Government's 'Multicultural Statement'

Three different prime ministers and three very different statements.



In October 1996, the government formally reaffirmed its commitment to racial respect. The Prime Minister moved a statement on racial tolerance in the Australian Parliament's House of Representatives.

The statement read:

'That this House:
* reaffirms its commitment to the right of all Australians to enjoy equal rights and be treated with equal respect regardless of race, colour, creed or origin
* reaffirms its commitment to maintaining an immigration policy wholly non-discriminatory on grounds of race, colour creed or origin
* reaffirms its commitment to the process of reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the context of redressing their profound social and economic disadvantage
* reaffirms its commitment to maintain Australia as a culturally diverse, tolerant and open society, united by an overriding commitment to our nation, and its democratic institutions and values
* denounces racial intolerance in any form as incompatible with the kind of society we are and want to be.'

The statement was supported by the Opposition Leader and carried unanimously.


STATEMENT OF MULTICULTURAL POLICY 2011 – Prime Minister Julia Gillard (Labor Party)

The Australian Government is unwavering in its commitment to a multicultural Australia. Australia’s multicultural composition is at the heart of our national identity and is intrinsic to our history and character.

Multiculturalism is in Australia’s national interest and speaks to fairness and inclusion. It enhances respect and support for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. It is about Australia’s shared experience and the composition of neighbourhoods. It acknowledges the benefits and potential that cultural diversity brings.

Australia’s multicultural policy embraces our shared values and cultural traditions. It also allows those who choose to call Australia home the right to practice and share in their cultural traditions and languages within the law and free from discrimination.

Australia is a multicultural nation. In all, since 1945, seven million people have migrated to Australia. Today, one in four of Australia’s 22 million people were born overseas, 44 per cent were born overseas or have a parent who was and four million speak a language other than English. We speak over 260 languages and identify with more than 270 ancestries. Australia is and will remain a multicultural society.

Supporting Australia’s multicultural policy, the Australian Government has a wide ranging engagement with Australia’s First Peoples—the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This includes strengthening relationships through the National Apology, supporting the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, establishing the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples and an expert panel to build a national consensus on the recognition of Indigenous people in the Australian Constitution.

Australia’s multicultural policy endorses and draws upon the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council’s advice and recommendations to government of April 2010. It is about embracing and benefiting from the strength of our different cultural traditions. It responds to our cultural diversity and aims to strengthen social cohesion.

Australia’s multicultural policy acknowledges that government services and programs must be responsive to the needs of our culturally diverse communities. It commits to an access and equity framework to ensure that the onus is on government to provide equitable services to Australians from all backgrounds.

Australia’s multicultural character gives us a competitive edge in an increasingly globalised world.

Multiculturalism is about all Australians and for all Australians.

Principle 1: The Australian Government celebrates and values the benefits of cultural diversity for all Australians, within the broader aims of national unity, community harmony and maintenance of our democratic values.
Diverse cultural expression enriches all Australians and makes our multicultural nation more vibrant and creative. An enduring theme of Australia’s multicultural policy is that everyone belongs. We celebrate diversity and recognize that expressions of diversity sit within Australia’s national legal framework.
Principle 2: The Australian Government is committed to a just, inclusive and socially cohesive society where everyone can participate in the opportunities that Australia offers and where government services are responsive to the needs of Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Australians from all backgrounds will be given every opportunity to participate in and contribute to Australia and its social, economic and cultural life. Australians from all backgrounds are also entitled to receive equitable access to government services. The Government will strengthen its access and equity policies to ensure that government programs and services are responsive to the needs of Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Australia’s multicultural policy aligns with the Government’s Social Inclusion Agenda where Australians of all backgrounds feel valued and can participate in our society.
Principle 3: The Australian Government welcomes the economic, trade and investment benefits which arise from our successful multicultural nation.
Immigration brings much needed skills and labour. It has also given us energy, ingenuity and enterprise. Immigration and cultural diversity have created economic renewal and prosperity in our communities. Our trade relations have been strengthened, our business horizons broadened and we have become more open to the world. Our diversity of cultures and our multilingual workforce give Australia a distinct competitive advantage in the global economy.
Principle 4: The Australian Government will act to promote understanding and acceptance while responding to expressions of intolerance and discrimination with strength, and where necessary, with the force of the law.
Racism and discrimination affects people’s health and wellbeing and denies people fair access to opportunities and services. The Australian Government opposes all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and prejudice. The Government has in place anti-discrimination laws and is committed to measures which counter racism and discrimination.

Australia’s successful multicultural society and our democracy are built around shared rights and responsibilities that are fundamental to living in Australia. These key rights and responsibilities are enshrined in our citizenship pledge which requires future citizens to pledge their loyalty to Australia and its people, uphold our laws and democracy and respect our rights and liberties. These rights and liberties include Australians of all backgrounds being entitled to celebrate, practice and maintain their cultural heritage, traditions and language within the law and free from discrimination.

Australia will continue to have an ever evolving and ever diversifying population.
We will continue to be multicultural. This helps create a strong economy, drives prosperity and builds Australia’s future. It will also enable Australia to enjoy the cultural and social benefits that cultural diversity brings. Multiculturalism is our shared future and is central to our national interest.

The Government will establish a new independent body, the Australian Multicultural Council (AMC), to replace the current Australian Multicultural Advisory Council (AMAC).

This responds to AMAC’s cultural diversity statement, recommendation two, which calls for a permanent and independent bipartisan body that can advise and consult on policies and emerging issues to inform a national multicultural Australian strategy.

The terms of reference of AMC will be broader than the current AMAC, in that AMC will:

* act as an independent champion of our multicultural nation
* have a formal role in a strengthened access and equity strategy
* have a research advisory role around multicultural policy
* assist with cultural diversity celebrations and Harmony Day activities
* implement a ‘multicultural ambassadors’ program to articulate the benefits of and help celebrate our multicultural nation.

The AMC will also continue the current AMAC role of advising the Government on multicultural affairs policy. The Government will appoint members to the AMC using a merit-based and independent selection process, such as that used to appoint directors to the boards of ABC and SBS. This will provide for a more independent and non-partisan framework for the appointment of AMC members.

The Australian Government has no tolerance for racism and discrimination. In response to AMAC’s cultural diversity statement recommendation three, the Government will implement a new National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy. This will be a partnership arrangement between: the Department of Immigration and Citizenship; the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Race Discrimination Commissioner; the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council or its successor body, the AMC; and the Attorney-General’s Department. The partnership will also consult extensively with non-government organisations in shaping and implementing its strategy. This arrangement will:

* draw together expertise on anti-racism and multicultural matters to form a critical mass
* expand the number and influence of networks in the refugee, migrant and broader community sectors
* enhance the leadership capacities of both government and civic society to be agents of change across Australia
* support a commitment to innovation, effective communication and accountability in the development and implementation of social policy in this key area.

The partnership will design, develop and implement the strategy. It will have five key areas of effort: research and consultation; education resources; public awareness; youth engagement; and ongoing evaluation. It will also take into account and build on existing efforts and resources in these areas.
This strategy would complement the other initiatives announced in Australia’s Human Rights Framework around broader human rights programs and the full-time appointment of the Race Discrimination Commissioner. The Race Discrimination Commissioner will also have a leadership role in promoting the strategy.

To ensure that government programs and services are responsive to Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, the Australian Government will strengthen the access and equity framework.

AMAC has called for a strengthened and more independent access and equity framework in recommendation five of its cultural diversity statement. In response to this recommendation the Government will:

* Ask the new Australian Multicultural Council (AMC) to manage the access and equity strategy from 2012 to help strengthen the independence of access and equity reporting from government and provide for a more robust reporting framework.
* Conduct an inquiry into the responsiveness of Australian Government services to clients disadvantaged by cultural or linguistic barriers. The outcome of this inquiry would provide the Government with a comprehensive view on how existing services are performing and how they could be improved.
*Work with state and territory governments under the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to ensure that data collected by government agencies on client services can be disaggregated by markers of cultural diversity, such as country-of-birth, ancestry, languages spoken at home and level of English proficiency. This will feed into the yearly Report on Government Services (ROGS), which is coordinated by the Productivity Commission.

The Australian Government will reprioritise the existing scope of the Diversity and Social Cohesion Program to include funding for multicultural arts and festivals small grants. Multicultural arts and festivals provide opportunities for Australians of all backgrounds to come together and experience different cultural experiences. This encourages social cohesion and mutual understanding.
$500 000 over the four financial years will be allocated to these grants to encourage and support community groups to express their cultural heritages and traditions.

In recognition that sport and active recreation activities are proven strategies to build social and community cohesion, the Australian Government will establish a Multicultural Youth Sports Partnership Program. The aim of the program would be to create connections and involve youth from new and emerging communities, and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (including refugees and minor refugees), through sport and active recreation activities.
The program will be administered by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and will connect youth from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds into neighbourhood sports and community organisations.


STATEMENT OF MULTICULTURAL POLICY 2017 – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal-Nationals Coalition)

Our shared story

Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world, uniting a multitude of cultures, experiences, beliefs, and traditions. We owe our accomplishments as a nation to the contributions of more than 300 different ancestries—from the First Australians to the newest arrivals.

We have flourished in part thanks to our cultural diversity that is underpinned by our common values and commitment to freedom, security, and prosperity.

Our nation is enriched by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the oldest surviving culture on the planet, and the millions of people who have chosen to make a new life here.

For more than 50,000 years First Australians have lived, learned, adapted and survived on the lands we now call Australia. Living side by side, they consisted of over 250 different language groups or ‘nations’ across the continent, each with distinctive cultures, beliefs, and dialects. Descendants of these nations represent the oldest surviving culture on the planet and have stories of times and places beyond the memory of any other people.

The story continued with the foundation of modern Australia, through British and Irish settlement and the establishment of our parliamentary democracy, institutions, and law. Over time, our story grew to include the millions of people from all continents who have made Australia home.

Today, Australians welcome those who have migrated here to be part of our free and open society, to build their lives and make a contribution to our nation.

Over time this coming together of many peoples helped build our infrastructure, enlivened our communities, enhanced our cultural experiences, increased our opportunities and, most significantly, expanded the way we see and engage with the world.

Building mutual obligations between government, the community, and the individual – regardless of nationality – strengthens our resilience and sense of belonging.

Together we have built the modern and prosperous Australia we are today, with our shared values, rights and responsibilities.

Shared values

Our values unite us and create social bonds between us. They provide the foundation for our society and a shared future in which everyone belongs. Our values are based on:

We respect and we are committed to the rule of law and allegiance to Australia.
We have respect for the liberty and dignity of all individuals.
We value our diversity and embrace mutual respect, inclusion, fairness, and compassion.

We support equality of men and women.
We believe in equality before the law.
We believe in equality of opportunity for all.

Our commitment to freedom is fundamental.
We support freedom of thought, speech, religion, enterprise, and association.
We are committed to a parliamentary democracy.
We take responsibility for fulfilling our civic duties.

Practices and behaviours that undermine our values have no place in Australia.

We all benefit from our nation’s economic success, cultural and religious freedom, and diversity. Maintaining a strong commitment to our common values is in the best interests of the Australian people.

Shared rights and responsibilities

We recognise the importance of mutual respect and mutual responsibility. Our success as a multicultural society is due to a balance of rights and responsibilities that ensure a stable, resilient, and harmonious society where we seek to give everyone the opportunity to contribute to—and benefit from—our prosperity.

Ours is a society founded on a liberal-democratic tradition in which the fundamental rights of every individual are inviolable.

Citizenship is a privilege and, as part of the Australian Citizenship Ceremony, new citizens pledge and affirm ‘loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey’.
Australians rightly expect that everyone who is in our country, whether or not they are Australian citizens, obeys Australian laws, supports our democratic process, and treats all people with respect and dignity.

A safe and secure Australia

Underpinning a diverse and harmonious Australia is the security of our nation. The Australian Government places the highest priority on the safety and security of all Australians. Recent terrorist attacks around the world have justifiably caused concern in the Australian community.

The Government responds to these threats by continuing to invest in counter-terrorism, strong borders, and strong national security. This helps to ensure that Australia remains an open, inclusive, free, and safe society.

In the face of these threats, however, we do not compromise on our shared values and national unity. The Government affirms that we best reinforce the safety of the Australian community by focusing on what unites us and addressing our differences through mutual respect.

Shared vision for the future

Australia is united by a shared commitment to our nation and our democratic institutions and values. We are all encouraged to promote acceptance and understanding, and ensure our society continues to be safe, cohesive, and harmonious.

In this statement, the Government continues promoting the principle of mutual respect and denouncing racial hatred and discrimination as incompatible with Australian society.

* It complements other Government policies and programs that, together with numerous community and volunteer activities, inspire, support and sustain our unity. For example:

* The Adult Migrant English Program supports eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants to learn foundation English language and settlement skills to enable them to participate socially and economically in Australian society.

* The Government’s Multicultural Access and Equity Policy ensures programs and services meet the needs of all Australians, whatever their cultural and linguistic background.

* Pathways to citizenship give new migrants the opportunity to be full and active participants in civic society.

* The Government supports a strong and diverse multicultural media through radio, print, online and television.

* Harmony Day was established in 1999 and is now celebrated by thousands of Australians each year, spreading a message of inclusiveness, respect and belonging for everyone.

* The Australian Multicultural Council acts as a key advisory body, providing robust and independent advice to Government.

Australians do not take our harmony and prosperity for granted. Together—as individuals, groups, and at all levels of government—we will continue to build stronger, more cohesive and prosperous communities, guided by our shared values and the following strategic directions.

Encouraging economic and social participation of new arrivals

Australia has a rich history of migrants contributing to our social and economic fabric. This continues today with our inclusive multicultural society providing opportunities for new migrants to contribute to the success of our nation.

Together, the efforts of communities, schools, non-profit organisations, faith-based organisations, employers, and governments are providing opportunities for people to positively contribute to Australian society.

People who migrate to Australia share the search for new opportunities or a better life.

At the same time, economic and social integration by new migrants and their families is vital to their future. Feeling connected to their new home and being a part of Australian society creates a sense of worth and belonging.

The Government provides a settlement framework, widely considered best practice, designed to help new migrants integrate into Australian life. Settlement programs support migrants to become self-reliant and active members of the Australian community.

Some new arrivals, particularly through Australia’s refugee and humanitarian program, benefit from specialised support. This includes help learning English and gaining necessary education or employment skills. The Government remains committed to helping humanitarian entrants, especially during the first five years after arriving in Australia, so they can build a better life and become self-sufficient, fully contributing members of society. The Australian Government is currently reforming settlement services to deliver improved English language, education and employment outcomes for humanitarian entrants.

Harnessing the advantages of our diversity and shared national interest

English is and will remain our national language and is a critical tool for migrant integration. At the same time, our multilingual workforce is broadening business horizons and boosting Australia’s competitive edge in an increasingly globalised economy. 
Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest assets – it sparks innovation, creativity and vitality. Our economy is strengthened by the skills, knowledge, linguistic capabilities, networks and creativity of our diverse workforce. Our productivity and competitiveness are enhanced through our ability to recognise and seize opportunities for international economic engagement.

This includes the talent of the many temporary migrants who contribute to the Australian economy and society while they are here. Many settle permanently in Australia, while others return to their home country or move to another country, further strengthening our cultural, trade and economic opportunities overseas.

Government, businesses and industry all play a part in promoting and maximising the benefits of our diverse workforce.

Continuing to build harmonious and socially cohesive communities

Our shared Australian values are the cornerstone of our economic prosperity as well as our socially cohesive society.

Sharing our cultural heritage is part of celebrating what it means to be Australian and helping everyone to feel included in our society. Community harmony builds national unity. Common experiences create shared histories and shape shared futures.

In contrast, racism and discrimination undermine our society. We condemn people who incite racial hatred.

Regular inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue is critical to reduce the possibility of tensions within communities and to strengthen cohesion and harmony. Such dialogue helps to reduce prejudice, promote cross-cultural understanding, improve relations between different ethnic and religious groups, and enhance the sense of belonging and trust.

Regardless of cultural background, birthplace or religion, everyone in Australia or coming to Australia has a responsibility to engage with and seek to understand each other, and reject any form of racism or violent extremism.


Successive Australian Governments have established a firm commitment to a multicultural Australia. It is timely to renew and reaffirm the Government’s commitment with this new statement: a clear message on the values and responsibilities that underpin our society, support our national interest and guide how we respond to challenges. It presents a vision for our future as a strong and successful multicultural nation, united by our allegiance to Australia and committed to freedom and prosperity.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Filing this under 'Can't Believe It's A Label'

Only in Tasmania, Australia, The World……

Tasmanian Heartwood Malt Whisky Pty Ltd currently has 7,000+ litres of whisky stored in 200 litre and 300 litre barrels. Some of these whiskies are the oldest single malt whiskies produced in Australia.

Regional health divide stroke treatment a cruel lottery says Stroke Foundation

“Regional Australians are 19 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those in metropolitan areas.”  
Australia’s stroke hotspot North Coast, NSW” 
[No postcode untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017Key Insights]

The Richmond, and Page federal electorates which cover most of the Northern Rivers region are expected to have a combined total of 18,312 stroke survivors in 2050.

Combined with Cowper and Lyne federal electorates, this brings the total number on the NSW Coast in 2050 to an est. 36,605 people living with the effects of stroke.


Stroke Foundation media release, 21 June 2017:

Regional and rural communities are bearing the brunt of Australia’s stroke burden, according to an updated Stroke Foundation report released today.
No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017”, found 12 of the country’s top 20 hotspots for stroke incidence were located in regional Australia and people living in country areas were 19 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those living in metropolitan areas.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said due to limited access to best practice treatment, regional Australians were also more likely to die or be left with a significant disability as a result a stroke.
“In 2017, Australians will suffer more than 56,000 strokes and many of these will be experienced by people living in regional Australia,’’ Ms McGowan said.
“Advancements in stroke treatment and care mean stroke is no longer a death sentence for many, however patient outcomes vary widely across the country depending on where people live.
“Stroke can be treated and it can be beaten. It is a tragedy that only a small percentage of Australian stroke patients are getting access to the latest treatments and ongoing specialist care that we know saves lives.”
Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Chair Associate Processor Bruce Campbell said Australian clinicians were leading the way internationally in advancements in acute stroke treatment, such as endovascular clot retrieval. However, the health system was not designed to support and deliver these innovations in treatment and care nationally.
“It is not fair that our health system forces patients into this cruel lottery,’’ A/Professor Campbell said.
“There are pockets of the country where targeted investment and coordination of services is resulting in improved outcomes for stroke patients.
“Consistent lack of stroke-specific funding and poor resourcing is costing us lives and money. For the most part, doctors and nurses are doing what they can in a system that is fragmented, under-resourced and overwhelmed.”
No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017 report and website uses data compiled and analysed by Deloitte Access Economics to reveal how big the stroke challenge is in each Australian federal electorate. This data includes estimates of the number of strokes, survivors and the death rate, as well as those living with key stroke risk factors. It is an update of a Stroke Foundation report released in 2014.
The report shows the cities and towns where stroke is having its biggest impact and pinpoints future hotspots where there is an increased need for support. 
Ms McGowan said stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in Australia, having a huge impact on the community and the economy.
“Currently, there is one stroke in Australia every nine minutes, by 2050 - without action - this number is set to increase to one stroke every four minutes,’’ she said.
“Stroke doesn’t discriminate, it impacts people of all ages and while more people are surviving stroke, its impact on survivors and their families is far reaching. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Federal and state governments have the opportunity to invest in proven measures to change the state of stroke in this country.”
In the wake of the report Stroke Foundation is calling for a funded national action plan to address the prevention and treatment of stroke, and support for stroke survivors living in the community. Key elements include:
A national action campaign to ensure every Australian household has someone who knows FAST - the signs of stroke and to call 000. Stroke is a time critical medical condition. Time saved in getting people to hospital and treatments = brain saved.
Nationally coordinated telemedicine network – breaking down the barriers to acute stroke treatment.
Ensuring all stroke patients have access to stroke unit care, and spend enough time on the stroke unit accessing the services and supports they need to live well after stroke.
Further information
The No Postcode Untouched: Stroke in Australia 2017 report was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Instead of addressing the root causes of homelessness in NSW the Berejiklian Government allows this to occur

It doesn’t matter what political stripe the NSW government of the day is - the issue of homelessness is rarely addressed in a positive fashion.

One only has to consult the National Library of Australia and Trove digital newspaper records to see that homelessness and Sydney have gone hand in hand since the city was established. As has the threat of violence towards those without a roof over their heads.

In February1890 a physical count of homeless people sleeping rough in the city occurred and 127 year later a count still occurs.

In February 1890 the count stood at 472 rough sleepers and by February 2017 the homeless count on the night was 433 rough sleepers, with another 489 people in crisis/temporary accommodation* and 28 people of no fixed address in hospital.

In the last fifty years to date in Sydney, the usual first response considered when the number of homeless people become highly visible is to force these people out of the inner city area to become the problem of other suburbs and different councils.

These clearances often only come to the notice of the general public during the lead up to high profile events such as state visits or when Sydney hosted the Olympics in 2000.

This time it was the turn of the Berejiklian Coalition Government and The City of Sydney Council to attempt to scatter the homeless from the inner-city by using NSW Police as their all too willing pit bulls.

Note the swift jabs by the male police officer at about 0:06-0:07 mins into this video

Now if this sweep of Sydney streets runs true to form an official spokesperson will say that the homeless have been offered alternative accommodation and many have refused.

This is officialese for handing out the contact details of overworked and under-resourced homeless services. 

The most easily accessible being the night refuges which are frequently only marginally safer than sleeping rough for the most vulnerable of those on the streets and which can offer little more than temporary night accommodation on a first-come-first-served basis. 
While other crisis/temporary accommodation offered through Dept of Housing/FaCS can be for as little as 2-5 days in a budget motel, caravan park or similar.

The current waiting list for permanent social housing in the Sydney metropolitan area is generally between 5 to 10+ years.

Well done, Sydney! Home to a heavy-handed, often violent police force, a city administration without a heart and a cruelly indifferent state government.


There were 16 crisis accommodation hostels with a minimum of 414 beds operating in the City of Sydney local government area in February 2017.

Can the CSIRO sink any lower?

“Collaborating with government. As a trusted adviser to government, our collaboration within the sector supports it to solve challenges, find efficiencies and innovate.” [CSIRO, Data61]

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is a federal government corporate entity ultimately responsible to the Australian Parliament.

It started life in the midst of global conflagration in 1916 and for most of its existence it was widely respected both in its country of origin and around the world.

Sadly that level of respect has been diminished in recent years as commercial imperatives saw it move away from its once proud boast that:

However, it had not yet become a low creature of right-wing political ideology.

Until now – when it appears willing to participate in enforcing punitive social policies, cynically presented in the guise of Budget measures by the Turnbull Coalition Government.

In particular, enabling the trial drug testing of income support applicants “based on a data-driven profiling tool developed for the trial to identify relevant characteristics that indicate a higher risk of substance abuse issues” which almost inevitably will target the poor and vulnerable.

Apparently the only matter holding the CSIRO back from full commitment to the trial is the matter of contract negotiations with the Dept. Of Social Security and/or Dept. of Human Services1.

The cost of this measure has reportedly been deemed by government to be “commercial-in-confidence”.

InnovationAus, 2 June 2017:

CSIRO has still not officially agreed to allow its Data61 analytics unit to become involved in the government’s highly contentious welfare drug testing program, a Senate estimates hearing has been told.

But the delay appears to be related to difficult contract negotiations – for which the research agency is well known – rather than the objections of staff or management to becoming involved in such a politically-driven program.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and CSIRO appeared at the Senate estimates on Thursday morning.

The shocking concession that CSIRO has been in discussion to work on the drug-test project since April comes despite the organisation having specifically declined to confirm any knowledge of the project for weeks – let alone that it was actively negotiating a contract.

This is despite direct questions being put to CSIRO on multiple occasions for weeks.

The estimates hearing also revealed that Data61 has been called into the controversy plagued Social Services robo-debt project that has mistakenly matched debt to welfare recipients.

CSIRO digital executive director David Williams told shadow industry minister Kim Carr that while CSIRO was approached by the Social Services department about the welfare drug testing scheme in late April – less than a month before its involvement was prematurely announced by Cabinet Minister Christian Porter – it is still yet to officially sign on to the project.

“The Department of Social Services approached CSIRO in early April, wanting to implement a trial involving activity tested income support recipients across a small number of geographical areas,” Mr Williams told senate estimates.

“They asked for Data61’s support in doing the analysis to see whether predictive analytics could help them in that task.”

“Since that time we’ve been talking with the department, and scoped out a statement of work and we’ve looked at how we can implement that work should we sign a contract and proceed. At this moment we’re working through the procedures inside CSIRO.”


1. The CSIRO already has a business relationship with the Australian Department of Human Services (DHS). Commencing in February 2017 the CSIRO and/or CSIRO Data61 conducted a Review of Online Compliance Systems, as well as supplying Specialist Data Science Services and Selection Methodologies Advice to the department. See;

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Malcolm Bligh Turnbull's agile & innovative NBN accused of screwing the poor. Why am I not surprised?

“Examining the rollout of NBN technologies as of December 2016, our preliminary analyses suggest areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage overlap with regions typically receiving NBN infrastructure of poorer quality.”  [The Conversation, 22 June 2017]

c|net, 23 June 2017:

The richer you are, the better the NBN getting rolled out in your area.

That's according to a new study that maps Australia's disadvantaged communities against the NBN technology they're receiving. The findings show that when it comes to accessing the technology of the future, the poorest in our community are being left behind.

Conducted by the Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity at Flinders University, the study ranked Australia's richest and poorest communities according to ABS data. The team used the ABS's 2011 socio-economic indexes for area (SEIFA) and index of relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage.

Matching these metrics against NBN technology, the researchers found "areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage [shown on the left of the graph below] overlap with regions typically receiving NBN infrastructure of poorer quality."  

There is massive difference in the NBN technology rolled out to the least advantaged parts of our society (on the left-hand side) and the most advantaged. The wealthier you are, the more likely you are to be using fibre (shown in blue). 
Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity

The Conversation, 22 June 2016:

This result tells a similar story to an early analysis by Sydney University’s Tooran Alizadeh of 60 NBN release sites that were announced in 2011. She found some of the most disadvantaged areas of Australia were not gaining equal access to the new infrastructure.

If we look only at major cities in Australia – where the level of fibre technology is higher overall – areas with the greatest disadvantage, while exceeding similarly disadvantaged areas nationally, still received significantly less FTTP and FTTN: 65% of areas with a SEIFA decile of one had FTTP and FTTN, compared with 94% of areas with a SEIFA decile of 10…. 

NBN services in outer regional areas

Composition of currently available* NBN service technologies in outer regional areas by Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas deciles (SEIFA). SEIFA decile 1 denotes the most disadvantaged areas, and SEIFA decile 10 denotes the least disadvantaged areas. 
Note: Decile 10 has been excluded from this chart because only one suburb falls into this category, whereas other deciles have between 129 (Decile 8) and 341 (Decile 4) suburbs.
(i) A suburb can have multiple NBN service types. The data is for services that are currently available*. (Services that are planned or where build has commenced is not included).  
(ii) Fibre denotes both Greenfields and Brownfields fibre, and includes Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fibre to the Building (FTTB) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN). 
(iii) HFC is Hybrid-Fibre Coaxial service. 

*Technology available at December 2016

Another perspective on the issue……..

How the early NBN roll out was originally determined.

Telecommunications Policy, Volume 41, Issue 4, Tooran Alizadeh,  and Reza Farid, Political economy of telecommunication infrastructure: An investigation of the National Broadband Network early rollout and pork barrel politics in Australia, May 2017:


It has been argued that infrastructure unevenness rigidifies into more lasting structures of socio-economic and political privilege and advantage. This paper focuses on telecommunication infrastructure as the backbone of the fast-growing digital economy, and raises important questions about the early National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout in Australia. The paper asks whether there was any case of pork barrelling in the selection of early release sites that enjoyed a regional competitive advantage against other localities that had to wait several years to receive the infrastructure. The answer to this question then leads to a second question about the degree to which voting in the early NBN release sites has swung following the infrastructure rollout. In order to answer these questions the paper examines the voting patterns in the earlier NBN release sites versus all electorates in the Federal elections in 2007–2013 using the data available via Australian Electoral Commission. Findings show trends of politically targeted funding, followed by vote swing in the very next election.

An analysis of the voting behaviours within the suburbs that were selected by governing Australian Labor Party, for the early NBN release, reveals that those suburbs that voted for the opposition Liberal/National Coalition and where the Coalition-held marginal seats were the key beneficiaries. This pattern occurred in all three states, as highlighted in Figure 3. In New South Wales and Queensland, electorates where either party held marginal seats had the most likely chance of receiving the NBN, followed by those were the Australian Labor Party-held safe seats. Chances of receiving the NBN in Victoria differed to the northern states, with electorates where the Australian Labor Party-held safe seats almost as likely as suburbs where marginal seats were held by the Liberal/National Coalition to receiving the NBN in the early rollout. Moreover, across the three states, the opposing Liberal/National Coalition-held safe seats were least likely to receive the NBN. With this said, fairly safe-held seats by either party also lucked out, although those held by the Australian Labor Party overall had slightly higher chances. Thus, in terms of receiving the NBN early rollout, the overall winners were those seats held marginally by the opposing Liberal/National Coalition. At the same time, the biggest loosers where the safe seats held by the opposing Coalition.