Showing posts with label Turnbull Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Turnbull Government. Show all posts

Friday, 13 October 2017

WAKE UP, PRIME MINISTER! A Frustrated Voter Calls on the Australian PM to Redeem Himself


Tony Abbott, in speaking arrant nonsense in the speech he delivered to a collection of climate deniers in the UK recently, has given you a great chance to redeem yourself in relation to climate change action and energy policy.  Abbott has shown how idiotic he is and how indifferent he is to the national interest as well as being totally inconsistent with much of what he espoused when he was Prime Minister.  So why do you keep kowtowing to his silliness and the silliness of his mates?  Why are you reluctant to adopt a clean energy target as recommended by the Chief Scientist? 

You’ve kowtowed to Abbott and his cronies incessantly for months and months – and it’s got you ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE.  They are not going to let up on you – and you’ve lost an enormous amount of public goodwill by your craven behaviour.

It’s time that you took charge and rejected the idiocy of the Liberal and National dinosaurs who want to prevent any more movement towards renewables.  How many of these Abbott-loving clowns are there anyway?  Surely the majority of the Liberal members (If not the Nationals - who are another matter entirely) want to have a bipartisan agreement on climate and energy.  Surely the sensible members of the Government want to give the community and business certainty about the way forward. And surely the more reasonable members of your Government can see that it is IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST TO SECURE A BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT ON THESE IMPORTANT MATTERS.  That is really the only way forward – and it’s what the majority of the community and business want.

If you get a bipartisan agreement with the opposition, it surely won’t matter if Abbott and his dinosaur cronies cross the floor. 

Another matter you should be considering (as I imagine you would be as a politician and a PM in deep trouble) is how history will see you as a leader and your term as PM.  Currently it’s not looking good.

Wake up, Prime Minister, and redeem yourself!

Climateer
NSW North Coast


GuestSpeak is a feature of North Coast Voices allowing Northern Rivers residents to make satirical or serious comment on issues that concern them. Posts of 250-300 words or less can be submitted to ncvguestspeak AT gmail.com.au for consideration. Longer posts will be considered on topical subjects.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

National ID Database: so you think if you do nothing wrong you'll have nothing to fear?


“There is also a tendency for technologies to converge, allowing for the creation of devices with increased surveillance capabilities. CCTV, for example, may be combined with facial recognition technology….to identify individuals from their images. Another example is modern mobile phones, which combine telephonic services with GPS tracking software, digital visual and sound recording capabilities, and connection to the internet. A consequence of the convergence of surveillance technologies is the greater ability of surveillance users to compile detailed pictures of members of the public, making it increasingly difficult for individuals to maintain their privacy and anonymity.” [Victorian Law Reform Commission – Surveillance in Public Places: Final Report 18, 2010]

This month the Turnbull Government, state and territory governments have agreed to add the photo IDs of all registered drivers to the Facial Biometric Matching Capability (FBMC) database (est. 16 November 2016) which already has access to passport photographs, visa application photos, airport surveillance images and arrest ID images from the criminal justice system.

Additional images will probably be harvested from social media and added to this database which is to be used with CCTV footage of the general population going about their daily lives when considered necessary by police and security services. The biometric 'map' of an individual's face created by FBMC being easily applied to searches of video footage from public venue, shopping centre, street and road cameras as CCTV technology is now capable of recognising faces of people, vehicles, animals and bags automatically.

FBMC will involve using a Face Verification Service , Face Identification Service, One Person One Licence Service and Facial Recognition Analysis Utility Service in identity matching, along with a the Document Verification Service, Identity Data Sharing Service and/or any other government identity matching or data sharing service and, of course one of the areas it will be used is in so-called crime prevention.

Use of this facial recognition database will also be available to authorised private sector agencies and, like many new tools it is likely there will be function creep so that photo IDs will be required by more government agencies and private businesses when interacting with individuals in the future.

The Facial Biometric Matching Capability database will function alongside the Biometric Identification Services (BIS) which features national identification capability using fingerprints, palm prints, foot prints and facial recognition, person identity and evidence image case management, image enhancement tools and record auditing, matching services of one to one, one to few, one to many, and many to many, as well as photobook, photo line-up and witness viewing services.

But what’s the worry? After all if you are an ordinary person not committing a crime you have nothing to fear. Right?

Well there is this on the horizon…………..


Criminologists at Monash undertake cutting edge research in the areas of risk and security that is theoretically sophisticated, innovative and highly relevant to areas of pressing national and international concern. The discipline hosts two recipients of the Australian government’s prestigious Future Fellowship Award, Professor Sharon Pickering and Associate Professor Weber, both undertaking programs of research on border policing. Their jointly authored book Globalization and Borders: Death at the Global Frontier was awarded Australia’s most significant criminology publication award in 2013. The Border Crossing Observatory is the online repository of all border-related research undertaken by Monash Criminology and our national and international partners. Criminologists at Monash have received multiple highly competitive Australian Research Council grants to investigate a host of risk and security related topics, amongst them, counter terrorism laws and policing, immigration and exploitive labour practices, deportation, regional security, and the gendered nature of border crossing and transnational law enforcement. Our risk and security research expertise includes the interrelated topics of borders, counter terrorism, state crime, transnational crime, irregular migration, human trafficking, risk and disability, and pre-crime. [my yellow bolding]

What is “pre-crime”?

Put simply, “pre-crime” activity is a crime not yet committed – it is the suspicion that an individual might be capable of breaking an unidentified law at some unspecified time in the future.

Such suspicion does not mean there is a need to charge, prosecute or convict for a specific crime. Intervention at “pre-crime” stage is supposedly risk containment.

You don’t have to be researching bomb-building or Googling how to buy a weapon online to commit a “pre-crime” activity - it can be your thoughts and political opinions spoken aloud or written down, as well as your actions at a public meeting or protest rally.

It can even be allegedly ‘guilty knowledge’ in that you knew the time and place a small environmental activist group was going to confront their local MP or you saw a person painting an anti-government picket sign ahead of a planned street march.

Going to the media – social or mainstream – with a genuine complaint against a government department might be considered a “pre-crime” if you visibly persist in seeking answers, redress or apology. You could easily be labelled "fixated" by police if a government minister takes offence and decides to complain.

If you make a small donation to a group the police or government consider problematic, troublesome or obstructive of the aims of government or big business you may at some time in the future be considered politically partisan and displaying “pre-crime” tendencies.

These are just some of the groups that are already complained about by big business and politicians: Environment Victoria, Wilderness Society (Australia, Victoria & Queensland), Friends of the Earth, Victorian National Parks Association, Australian Conservation Foundation, Lock the Gate Alliance, 350.org Australia, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Friends of the Earth Australia, Politics in the Pub and GetUp! as well as Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd.

Just belonging to a group or community association which speaks up on matters of social, economic, environmental or political concern could see you being eyed off as part of a potential conspiracy in the making.

In at least one Western country pre-crime can also manifest itself as a suspicion that you have come into a city centre with the intention of having a drink or two and you will be given a 48 hour direction-to-leave order.

With the notion of “pre-crime” there is no presumption of innocence and little more than lip service to due process if any arm of state or federal government decides you are a person of interest.

So how will pre-crime activity be monitored by police and security services? Well one of the methods used will be surveillance and this surveillance may involve use of the Facial Biometric Matching Capability database created by the Turnbull Government.

Surely this couldn’t possibly happen in Australia? you say. Think again. 

We already keep individuals in gaol long after their court-imposed sentence has been fully completed under continuing detention legislation, have preventative detention without charge and control orders which can be applied to both minors and adults, police are known to use spyware to enter, monitor and control home computers and, in certain circumstances your home can be entered and searched without your knowledge by police and security services.

And here in Australia we have a history of unwarranted surveillance based on an individual's political association (1950s Cold War era) and political dissent (1960s & early 1970s Viet Nam War era) as well as virtually unchallenged unlawful use of coercive powers (Border Force 2014 to 2017).

Police and security agencies are constantly pushing for more legislation which would allow amongst other matters the creation of a raft of pre-emptive, punitive measures based solely on suspicion and an individual’s “pre-crime” tendencies.

Right now in Australia governments are all about political and physical control of the population - they are not about human rights, 'civil liberties' or a free, open and democratic society.

As a society Australia has been sliding down that slippery slope towards an authoritarian destination for years now and in 2017 we appear to have reached the bottom of the slope.

“For years, there’s been ample evidence that authoritarian governments around the world are relying on technology produced by American, Canadian, and European companies to facilitate human rights abuses.  From software that enables the filtering and blocking of online content to tools that help governments spy on their citizens, many such companies are actively serving autocratic governments as "repression’s little helper."
The reach of these technologies is astonishingly broad: governments can listen in on cell phone calls, use voice recognition to scan mobile networks, read emails and text messages, censor web pages, track a citizen’s every movement using GPS, and can even change email contents while en route to a recipient. Some tools are installed using the same type of malicious malware and spyware used by online criminals to steal credit card and banking information. They can secretly turn on webcams built into personal laptops and microphones in cell phones not being used. And all of this information is filtered and organized on such a massive scale that it can be used to spy on every person in an entire country.” [Electronic Frontiers Foundation, accessed 7 October 2017]

“Australia’s leading privacy and civil liberties organisations condemn the decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to provide all images from state and territory driver’s licence databases to the federal National Facial Biometric Matching Capability.
The creation of such a comprehensive national facial database is an unnecessary and disproportionate invasion of the privacy rights of all Australians, is the foundation for suspicionless, warrantless mass surveillance and is fundamentally incompatible with a free and open society.

David Vaile, Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation said, “This government has proven it is blind and deaf to privacy and personal information security threats. Make no mistake – this database will affect all Australians, even the most conscientious and law-abiding. It will likely generate massive ‘false positive’ lists that will flood our very effective police and security services with useless distractions. We’ve already seen calls for ‘scope creep’ to cover welfare enforcement, and there’s every reason to expect this capability will come to be used to identify people with unpaid fines and other minor issues that have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” [Electronic Frontiers Australia, 6 October 2017]

“Every single portion of human rights activism overlaps, manifests or is exercised with the use of technology. That alone caused attackers and adversaries to recognize that technology itself is a good vehicle to get to these people and interfere with them or cause them harm.” [Claudio Guarnieri of Amnesty International quoted in Threat Post at Kapersky Lab, 4 October 2017]

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Australian Bureau of Statistics has carriage of the national voluntary same-sex marriage postal survey - a visual answer to the question "What could possibly go wrong?"


Images of just some instances highlighting predictable issues concerning the Turnbull Government’s national same-sex marriage voluntary postal survey……..
















But wait, there’s more…….




There were 16.0 million electors on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll as of 30 August 2017,

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics by 29 September 2017 only est. 9.2 million of these people had returned a completed voluntary same-sex marriage postal survey form.

Another 13.6 million completed and returned forms would see a survey response rate no politician would dare argue with if he or she hoped to keep their seat at the next federal election.

If over 90 per cent of enrolled electors could turn out to vote for a national song in 1977, surely just as many could get their finger out in 2017 and answer one simple question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?"

The same-sex marriage survey closes in 30 days time at 6pm local time on Tuesday, 7 November 2017. Survey forms received by the Australian Bureau of Statistics after this will not be counted in official results.

What Prime Minister Malcolm Bligh Turnbull didn't say when he announced Australia's new space agency


ABC News, 30 September 2017:

Australia is building three new satellites that will conduct audio and visual surveillance for the Defence Force.

The Federal Government has given $10 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra space team to complete the project.

Work on the first satellite is already underway and is scheduled for lift-off next year.

The device, which is known as a Cubesat, is the size of a loaf of bread and weighs about four kilograms.

University of New South Wales Canberra space director Professor Russell Boyce said, while small, the spacecraft had a big task ahead.

"It's got an onboard capability to listen to objects on the surface of the earth, in particular we are interested in ships, so it's assisting the defence force in maritime surveillance," Professor Boyce said.

Another two satellites, each twice the size of the first satellite, are scheduled to be completed by 2019.

"They will not just have the software to find radio, but also some optical telescopes and cameras," Professor Boyce said.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the data collected from the satellites could assist military spy planes with their work, and help detect asylum seeker boats. [my yellow emphasis]

BACKGROUND


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Under Turnbull Government's new plan "38 out of 44 marine parks will be open to trawling, gillnetting and longlining, 33 will be open to mining, and 42 exposed to the construction of pipelines"



Canberra Times, 17 September 2017:
In the corridors of Parliament House that day, as I met MPs of every stripe, I felt a great sense of promise, even pride. And it seemed for a while such hope was not misplaced. In 2012, after an exhaustive scientific process and wide community consultation, Tony Burke declared a system of marine national parks, one of the biggest and best in the world, the most significant conservation gain in Australian history.
That took courage. Because it put science before politics, prudence ahead of expediency. And it was popular. But as soon as he came to power in 2013 Tony Abbott announced an immediate moratorium on these parks and instigated a review. The purpose was purely political. To delay implementation, corrode consensus and deny the science. A move straight out of the culture warrior's playbook.
After decades of forward-thinking leaders, the nation had fallen into the hands of a man whose loyalties were only to the past. It was a low moment. But Abbott's reign was as brief as it was fruitless. It was a relief to see him replaced in 2015 by a man who'd actually done things, who believed in the future. Malcolm Turnbull did not scorn science. He seemed to understand the value and fragility of our natural estate. So there was new hope the marine parks review would now be expedited and redirected towards real conservation outcomes. With coral reefs bleaching and miners pressing for even more coal ports and seabed to drill, the need for protection had only grown more urgent.
Well, that moment of promise is long gone. Turnbull's period in office has basically been a hostage drama. The bargain he made with powerbrokers rendered him captive to the party's most illiberal wing, and if his performance on climate, energy and marriage equality aren't evidence enough, last month's announcement that marine parks would be slashed beyond all recognition puts it beyond dispute.
The agents of inertia control his government. And what's worse he's looking like a hostage who's begun to identify with his captors. How else to explain his radical lurch backwards on parks? The draft management plans recently released for consultation by Josh Frydenberg don't just signify the gutting of the national system, they represent the largest removal of protection for Australian wildlife in our history. What the government is proposing is a nihilistic act of vandalism. Forty  million hectares of sanctuary will be ripped from the estate. That's like revoking every second national park on land. Under its new plan, 38 out of 44 marine parks will be open to trawling, gillnetting and longlining, 33 will be open to mining, and 42 exposed to the construction of pipelines. In total defiance of the scientific advice upon which the original system was designed, 16 marine parks will now have no sanctuary zones at all.
The science shows that partial or low-level protection simply doesn't work. What the government is putting forward will radically diminish protection of habitat. It will also undermine sustainable regional economic development. What began as a quest for excellence based on the best possible science is now so miserably degraded it's turned the greatest step forward in marine conservation into a regime that doesn't even aspire to be second-rate.
Draft management plans for Australian marine parks/reserves:
                                                                         



South-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves draft management plan

As one South Australian voter put it after reading about the Turnbull Government's intentions; FFS ! These guys are proof that there are no time machines. Otherwise someone from the future would come back and mulch the pr*cks. (quote supplied)

Voters in NSW North Coast electorates should be aware that:
* Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan supported this review and to date has never voted against his party’s position in the House of Representatives. Therefore it is highly likely that he will vote for any government bill which will reduce marine park and marine reserve protections.
*Nationals MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker supported this review and to date has never voted against his party’s position in the House of Representatives. Therefore it is highly likely that he will vote for any government bill which will reduce marine park and marine reserve protections.
* Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot does not support a reduction in marine parks and marine reserve protections.

Brief background


The Turnbull government has released draft management plans for the nation's marine parks that amount to an "unprecedented roll-back" of protections, a coalition of 25 environmental groups say.

The long-awaited draft plans were released on Friday and propose changes to the 3.3 million square kilometres of Australia's protected offshore regions expanded in 2012 by the Gillard government.

The area of marine parks open to fishing would jump to 80 per cent from 64 per cent now, if the changes were to pass through parliament, WWF-Australia said.

"This is a huge step backwards for marine protection," Richard Leck, WWF's head of oceans, said. "Australia used to be seen as a global leader in marine conservation. That will no longer be the case if these proposals are implemented."

Other proposed changes would strip Shark and Vema reefs of  marine national park status, while Osprey reef - one of the world's premier dive sites - has lost more than half its protection, Tony Burke, Labor's environment spokesman said.

"Five years ago, Labor make the second largest conservation decision in history. Today the Turnbull Government announced the largest undoing of conservation ever," Mr Burke said….

Of particular concern to the green groups is the Coral Sea Marine Park, where a substantial area previously given the maximum protection had been reduced……

Ms Grady said the government had chosen to ignore the science contained in independent reviews that backed the original zones.

"All Australians will be justifiably distressed to know that science evidence supporting an increase in protections for marine life has been thrown out the window," Darren Kindleysides, director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Get ready for an Australian Space Agency says Prime Minister Turnbull & Minister for Education and Training Birmingham


Mock-up of UNSW ISAT (size is approx. that of a bread loaf) leaving the International Space Station, 2017
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 Medianet Release



25 Sep 2017 4:56 PM AEST - Get ready for an Australian astronaut




Get ready for an Australian astronaut
The announcement Australia will finally create its own space agency has opened the door for a long-held dream for many: a home-grown Australian astronaut.
"Until now, anyone wanting to become an astronaut had the odds stacked against them," said Andrew Dempster, Director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) at the University of New South Wales. "They had to become citizens of a another country, like the US, and then work hard to get into a space agency like NASA. That won't be the case any more: in fact, the first home-grown astronaut may only be years away. And he or she has probably been dreaming about this for years."
Two Australian-born astronauts have flown into space: Paul Scully-Power and Andy Thomas, but both had to become US citizens to do so. Scully-Power, from Sydney, was an oceanographer who flew as a payload specialist in 1984 while working for the US Naval Undersea Warfare Centre; Thomas, from Adelaide, is an aerospace engineer who served as a NASA astronaut on shuttle missions from 1996 to 2005.
An Australian space agency would not only allow Australians to train and fly as astronauts, but more importantly, coordinate national efforts and act as the central contact point for nation-to-nation requests for collaboration in space missions and projects. At present, when such requests come, they are often passed on to Geoscience Australia, the CSIRO or the Bureau of Meteorology, which are world-class at users of space facilities but largely unqualified in building, launching and operating in space.
"We're responsible for one-eighth of the world's surface in meteorology and air traffic control, and we've got the second lowest population density in the world, so space is probably more important for Australia than virtually any other country," said Dempster. "In the civilian sphere, Australia should be number one in space, but we're just nowhere near that.
"The good news is that the nature of the space industry is changing. We're moving into an era where access to space is cheaper and easier than ever before. We don't need big, clunky space agencies and giant satellites – we can skip all that and move straight to this more dynamic, disruptive environment. And we're already doing that."
In April, three Australian satellites – first in 15 years– blasted off from Cape Canaveral and were deployed in May from the International Space Station. Two were built at ACSER: UNSW-EC0 and INSPIRE-2 (the latter a joint project with the University of Sydney and the Australian National University), along with SuSAT, built by the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.
Each of the 'cubesats' is the size of a loaf of bread, weighing less than 2 kg, and will carry out the most extensive measurements ever undertaken of the thermosphere, a region between 200 and 380 km above Earth, a poorly-studied zone that is vital for communications and weather formation.
ACSER also built space GPS hardware and software for Project Biarri, cubesat mission by Australia's Defence Science and Technology Group that is part of a the Five Eyes defence agreement with Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The satellite was also launched this year.
"We've got more hardware in space today than Australia's had in its history," added Dempster, who is also a member of the advisory council of the Space Industry Association of Australia. "This shows what we can do in Australia in the new world of 'Space 2.0', where the big expensive agency-driven satellites are being replaced by disruptive low-cost access to space.
 Having a space agency isn't about spending loads of money on giant satellites. We can build constellations of small satellites for probably less than it costs to build one big satellite. So it's a completely different business environment and there is a lot of investment in the area. The cubesat side of the business is growing at 20% a year," he added.
Australia's space industry is estimated to be worth US$3-4 billion and employs about 11,500 people. "But we need a space agency to grow this," said Dempster. "We've got only 2% of the global space market, but we should have 4% based on Australia's proportion of global GDP. So there's a real opportunity there, because we have the skills and there are Australian companies operating in this area, but no national coordination."
LINKS TO VIDEO, IMAGES AND BACKGROUND
  • PHOTOS: Stills of UNSW engineers in the control room; on roof with antennas and cubesat model; UNSW-EC0 and INSPIRE-2 cubesats; launch of cubesats from ISS; the Dutch radio telescope, etc.
  • VIDEO EXPLAINER: Dr Elias Aboutanios and Prof Andrew Dempster explain the QB50 mission and what the satellites will seek to explore.
  • BACKGROUNDER: The goals, flight, deployment and instruments of the three Australian satellites.


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