Monday 30 June 2014

A matter for His Excellency Dr. Hassan Hanafy Mahmoud El-Laithy to ponder upon, as it reflects the view of many Australians concerning Egypt, its government, judiciary and people

Statement by the National Press Club of Australia


The National Press Club of Australia deplores the treatment of Australian journalist Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed s and appeals to the Egyptian authorities to ensure, even at this late stage, a sensible and truly just outcome.

By any reasonable assessment the saga involving Peter Greste and his Al-Jazeera colleagues represents a gross miscarriage of justice that the Egyptian Government must overturn.
Throughout the trial, the actions of Egyptian authorities have been unconscionable.

In the extraordinarily extended “trial” not a shred of evidence was produced in support of the charges against the journalists.

There was nothing in the proceedings to suggest that the authorities had the slightest appreciation of the role of journalists and journalism in society, nothing to suggest an appreciation of the damage being done to Egypt’s standing in the international community.

In the wake of this verdict, the claim by Egypt’s President al-Sisi, that the court was independent, respected and beyond criticism, lacks all credibility.

That the former head of the military chose to make such a statement at a military graduation ceremony is an ominous portent.

President al-Sisi must use his power to overturn the penalties imposed on these journalists who were doing no more than their professional duties – and, from the evidence, doing it well.

A failure to act will seriously diminish Egypt’s reputation and influence in regional and world affairs.

ABN 59 208 238 583
STREET ADDRESS 16 National Circuit Barton ACT 2600
POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 6184 Kingston ACT 2604
TELEPHONE (02) 61212199 FACSIMILE (02) 61212188

How safe is the Clarence Valley Council workplace?

On 19 March 2014 this letter to the editor appearing in The Daily Examiner set the alarm bells ringing, coming as it did on the heels of an earlier letter to the editor by another person and a locally reported application to the Industrial Relations Commission which led to a Clarence Valley Council employee returning to work after being officially dismissed:

Question bullying

Councillor Margaret McKenna's motion in council regarding violence against people on the basis of their sexuality is commendable (DEX, 15/3).
The violation of anyone's human rights is unacceptable in a civilised society.
Bullying and intimidation in the workplace is equally abhorrent and, I would suggest, a far more widespread form of human rights abuse.
If the good councillor were to ask just how many complaints of this kind of abuse have occurred within Clarence Valley Council over the past 12 months, she may be very unpleasantly surprised.
Bullying in the workplace can become endemic if it is not addressed forcefully and publicly. Bullying and intimidation are trademarks of an absence of quality leadership.
The impact on its victims, their families, their work colleagues, and the productivity and morale of the entire organisation is as profound as it is irreparable.
It cannot be contained or hidden.
We live in an age when social media and personal networks can negate any attempted commercial blackmail of mainstream media.
I would suggest Cr McKenna and all Clarence Valley councillors need to address an issue that threatens not only the reputation and integrity of this council but its continuance in office, and they need to do it immediately.

Ian Saunders

Bullying in the workplace is a serious issue, but what has been rumoured since then is even more serious. 

There are allegations that the Clarence Valley Council workplace is now so toxic that some employees are quietly beginning to look for jobs elsewhere.

Some spooked by the alleged verbally abusive behaviour of more senior staff, others worried by the alleged scapegoating of workmates and some shocked by alleged threat/s of serious physical violence.

The general impression gathered is that Clarence Valley Council is no longer considered a safe workplace by sections of the wider Clarence Valley community.

I have no idea who Mr. Saunders is, but he appears to have come close to hitting the proverbial nail on the head.

If even one of these allegations has a basis in fact, it is time that all nine shire councillors addressed the issue of how and why local government workplace culture has been allowed to sink to such problematic depths.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Are APPEA and Metgasco Limited massaging the truth?

These are the opening paragraphs of an APPEA 19 June 2014 media release titled Councils shun anti-resources campaign:

Members of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) should be commended for turning their back on anti-natural gas misinformation and scare campaigns and focusing on regional development, APPEA said today.

Two motions, put forward by Griffith City Council in NSW and Moyne Council in Victoria, to respectively restrict and ban natural gas development across Australia were defeated at ALGA’s annual conference in Canberra.

APPEA Chief Operating Officer Eastern Australia, Paul Fennelly said: “Many councils are now alert to a concerted campaign by environmental groups such as the Lock the Gate Alliance to stop natural gas heating our homes, powering our kitchens, supporting agribusiness and driving our manufacturing sector….

On the same day Metgasco Limited posted this media release on its own website under Industry News.

However, when one examines the 82 motions put forward at the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly on 19-20 June 2014, there is another resolution that both the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) and coal seam & tight gas miner Metgasco Limited curiously failed to mention:

Motion 30
Gunnedah Council, NSW

That the Federal Government retain the primary responsibility for the approval of resource projects, coal seam gas in particular and provide regulation which best preserves and protects our natural resources, including our underground water tables in primary agricultural land from contamination.

At a time when the general public wants the Federal Government to take a key role in expanded regulation of the coal seam gas industry, the Abbott Government is planning to reduce regulation and to devolve much of it to the states. The expansion of coal seam gas in Australia is an important issue and needs strong leadership to ensure industry claims are properly scrutinized. That is what the Federal Government needs to do, not 7 different states and territories.

At a time when the general public wants the Federal Government to take a key role in expanded regulation of the coal seam gas industry, the Abbott Government is planning to reduce regulation and to devolve much of it to the states. The expansion of coal seam gas in Australia is an important issue and needs strong leadership to ensure industry claims are properly scrutinized. That is what the Federal Government needs to do, not 7 different states and territories.

Was this motion not mentioned because it was passed and is now a resolution being progressed by the Australian Local Government Association?

Readers will have to wait until the association publishes its 2014 resolutions to answer that question.

Saturday 28 June 2014

Mark Carnegie wants compulsory civilian national service

Geelong Grammar School alumnus, millionaire founder of M.H. Carnegie & Co, entrepreneur, investor, corporate adviser, property developer, sometime Q&A panellist and business partner of John Singleton, Mark Carnegie, wants both your young and your old conscripted into his part-time civilian ‘army’ – at a huge, ongoing cost to the federal budget bottom line.

And it will be a huge cost considering there are over 11 million employed people in Australia – every one of which would have an employer with his/her hand out for compensation.

The occasion was the inaugural Di Gribble Argument, an event to honour the memory of the publisher who loved a good debate. Carnegie’s starting point was his assertion that ‘‘the current state of citizens’ engagement makes me terrified for the Australia we will leave for our children’’.
‘‘More and more people are disengaging completely from politics or becoming single-issue evangelists, a trend which can only lead to the dictatorship of the passionate minority,’’ he argued.
What followed was a lively discussion about the merits of Carnegie’s proposition that civic service, like jury duty, should be made compulsory for all, with employers paid the cost of releasing their workers for one week every few years, and greater demands made on the young and the old….

Quote of the Week

Before the last election, Hogan made a specific commitment not to support Federal environment powers being handed back to the states and threatened to “cross the floor” on CSG. However, last week in federal parliament that commitment lay in tatters, and Kevin Hogan voted for the bill which has gutted the water trigger on CSG mining.  He had his one big chance to cross the floor, and he blew it. [Michael McNamara, spokesperson with Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, in Echo NetDaily, 19 June 2014]

Friday 27 June 2014

Metgasco Limited reaps that which it sowed - PEL 16 operations suspension continues

Metgasco Limited finds itself friendless – with all seven Northern Rivers local government councils having put their concerns and/or outright opposition on the public record and, the NSW Government standing by its decision to suspend operations at the company’s PEL 16 Rosella E01 Bentley gas exploration well.

The Hon Anthony Roberts MP
Minister for Resources and Energy
Special Minister of State

Thursday 26 June 2014


As requested by Metgasco, a review of the Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) decision to suspend operations of Metgasco under the Activity Approval has been undertaken.

Metgasco was provided with opportunities to submit additional material to be taken into account in relation to this review.

Metgasco took the opportunity to submit additional material during the course of the review which has been taken into account.

The outcome of the review is that the decision to suspend the operations of Metgasco under the Activity Approval remains in place until the OCSG is satisfied that the company
has met the conditions of its title and the conditions of the Activity Approval.

An Executive Summary of the reasons will be published by the OCSG on its website in due course at:

As this matter remains the subject of ongoing litigation, I will be making no further comment.

Statements on Metgasco

Metgasco - petroleum exploration licence 16

Status of Rosella exploration well activity approval

26 June 2014

The decision to suspend the operations of Metgasco under the Activity Approval remains in place until the Office Of Coal Seam Gas is satisfied that the company has met the conditions of its title and the conditions of the Activity Approval. Read the decision here.

14 May 2014

On 14 May 2014 the Office of Coal Seam Gas OCSG put a hold on Metgasco's approval to drill an exploration well at Bentley, near Casino in the Northern Rivers, on the basis that the company was not in compliance with its community consultation obligations under Petroleum Exploration Licence 16 (PEL 16).

Metgasco Ltd wrote to the OCSG on 15 May 2014 requesting that the OCSG review its decision of 14 May 2014.

Metgasco provided the OCSG with additional material about its community consultation activities for the proposed drilling of the Rosella Exploration Well to consider as part of the review.
OCSG met with Metgasco on 16 May 2014 to discuss the regulator's decision of 14 May 2014 and the company's submission.

The OCSG has reviewed this additional material. At this stage, the decision of 14 May 2014 still stands, given the company has not effectively and genuinely engaged with the community or put in place an appropriate community consultation plan in accordance with the Guideline for community consultation requirements for exploration ("the Guideline").

OCSG has informed Metgasco of this and given the company a further 10 days to make any further submissions. A final decision on review will be made following full consideration of any further submissions.

The OCSG has maintained an ongoing dialogue with Metgasco in relation to this matter.

Compliance with Community Consultation Condition

Community consultation and engagement is a key element of the regulatory framework for petroleum exploration projects in NSW.

This is reflected in the imposition of a specific condition on petroleum exploration licences (PELs) issued under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 (the Act). The conditions make it mandatory for petroleum exploration licence holders to "engage with the community in relation to the planning for and conduct of prospecting operations". This condition is supported by a guideline: Guideline for community consultation requirements for exploration (the Guideline).

In addition, licence holders must report on compliance with the above condition annually.

The OCSG acknowledges that some sections of the community are opposed to the development of a gas industry for a variety reasons. We do not expect licence holders such as Metgasco to be able to change their view points.

We do however expect that licence holders such as Metgasco will develop a detailed consultation plan in compliance with the Guideline and demonstrate an ability to effectively and genuinely engage with the community.

The plan should be appropriate to the circumstances of the case and include a detailed analysis of stakeholder groups in the Richmond Valley, Kyogle Shire and Lismore City Council areas.

The OCSG has advised Metgasco that works could be recommenced under the activity approval once an acceptable community consultation plan is in place and the company demonstrates an ability to appropriately engage with the community, in compliance with relevant obligations under PEL 16.

Who owns what in Australian media - and the main reasons why the Abbott Government wants to cripple public broadcasting

Looking at the media platform breakdown in the Department of Communications Policy Background Paper No 3 Media Control and Ownership it is easy to discern the reasons why the Abbott Government is intent on crippling the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).

Public broadcasting is too successfully competitive with the large commercial media platforms and its disturbs the increasing homogenous content of their political reporting and editorial stances.

This homogenous tone is something that Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been able to use to his advantage in the past.

A brief outline (quotes from the background paper are in italics):

Network Ten

Removal of the BSA’s foreign ownership restrictions in 2006 allowed Canadian company Canwest to convert its large economic interest in Network Ten to a voting interest of 56.7 per cent, delivering control of the company. However, in September 2009, CanWest sold down all its interests in Network Ten due to financial difficulties. Since 2010, large shareholdings in Ten Network Holdings have been acquired by companies controlled by Mr James Packer and Mr Lachlan Murdoch (8.8 per cent each which was, until 27 March 2014, a joint holding) and Ms Gina Rinehart (an original 6.34 per cent stake that has increased to 9.91 per cent).

Southern Cross Media Group (formerly Macquarie Media Group)

In 2007, the then Macquarie Media Group purchased Southern Cross Media Group for $1.3 billion in partnership with Fairfax Media. This deal required the divestiture of 15 commercial radio assets across nine licence areas that would otherwise breach the ‘5/4 rule’. In March 2008, Macquarie sold 19 regional commercial radio licences to various small regional commercial radio networks. In December 2009, Macquarie was renamed Southern Cross Media Group, and in May 2011, the company acquired the Austereo Group (including 10 metropolitan commercial radio licences and two jointly-owned regional commercial radio licences) for more than $700 million.

Fairfax Media

In May 2007, Fairfax Media completed a merger with Rural Press Limited that involved acquisition of a number of regional commercial radio licences and publications such as The Canberra Times. In November 2007, Fairfax Media acquired seven metropolitan commercial radio licences from Macquarie Media Group as part of the acquisition of Southern Cross Broadcasting (described above). This transaction also required the
divestiture of a commercial radio licence in Ipswich, which was sold to Grant Broadcasters. In October 2011 Fairfax sold its eight regional commercial radio licences to Grant Broadcasters for a reported $15 million.

 Consolidated Media Holdings and PMG / Fox Sports

Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH) was a subscription television investment company formed in late 2007 when Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) split into two separate businesses – Crown (a gaming company) and CMH (a media company). CMH held a 25 per cent interest in Foxtel and a 50 per cent stake in Premier Media Group (PMG). In 2012, PMG was renamed Fox Sports Pty Ltd. Also in 2012, News Corporation and Seven Group Holdings both submitted bids to acquire CMH. The ACCC opposed Seven’s bid but approved News Corp’s offer, which took effect from 2 November 2012. This transaction delivered News Corp full control of Fox Sports and 50 per cent of Foxtel.

Seven West Media (formerly Seven Media Group)

Following the 2006 media ownership reforms, Seven Media Group was subject to a joint venture agreement resulting in foreign investment company Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts and Co (KKR) acquiring a 47.7 per cent stake and Mr Kerry Stokes acquiring a 47.7 per cent stake through Seven Network Limited, which was subsequently renamed Seven Group Holdings. In early 2011, Seven Media Group was sold to WAN to form a new entity Seven West Media. Seven Group Holdings remains the majority shareholder of Seven West Media, but KKR no longer has a significant stake.

Nine Entertainment Co. / Publishing and Broadcasting Limited

Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) was formed in 1994 through the merger of the Nine Network Australia and Australian Consolidated Press. Following the 2006 media ownership reforms, PBL Media was formed as a 50/50 joint venture between PBL and private equity company CVC Asia Pacific Limited (CVC). In 2007, PBL spin-off company CMH sold down its shares in PBL until CVC owned over 99 per cent of the entity. PBL Media was renamed Nine Entertainment Co on 2 December 2010. In January 2013, the company’s debts forced a restructuring of its financing arrangements resulting in private investment firms Apollo Global Management and Oaktree Capital Management taking control of the company. On 6 December 2013, Nine Entertainment Co was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.


On 26 May 2011, Foxtel announced its intention to acquire Austar, and on 11 July 2011 the two companies announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement regarding this transaction. The proposal received ACCC approval (subject to an undertaking) on 10 April 2012, and the take-over was finalised by 25 May 2012. This resulted in Austar being de-listed from the Australian Stock Exchange.

Prime Media Group

Following the 2006 media reforms, Prime Media, which had previously only owned and operated regional commercial television licences, began purchasing commercial radio assets. By 2009, Prime’s radio network included 10 regional commercial radio licences in Queensland. However, on 30 August 2013 Prime sold all of its commercial radio assets to Grant Broadcasters for $24.5 million, representing a large loss on its radio investments.

Nova Entertainment (formerly DMG Radio Australia)

In November 2009, Mr Lachlan Murdoch’s investment company Illyria Pty Ltd purchased 50 per cent of DMG Radio Australia from its owner, British media company Daily Mail and General Trust, for a reported $110 million. Illyria acquired the remaining 50 per cent of DMG Radio in September 2012, and rebranded the company as Nova Entertainment on 26 February 2014.

Australian Radio Network

The Australian Radio Network (ARN) was until recently jointly owned by APN News & Media (APN) and American radio company Clear Channel. On 19 February 2014, APN acquired Clear Channel’s 50 per cent of the company, as well as its 50 per cent stake in New Zealand’s The Radio Company, for $246.5 million.

Commercial companies controlling the maximum number of media platforms allowable under Australian legislation

The role of public broadcasting

An examination of the media diversity landscape needs to consider the role of the national broadcasters, the ABC and SBS. These organisations make a significant contribution to media diversity through their provision of television, radio and online services. This is particularly so for the ABC, the reach and depth of whose media outlets compare favorably to its commercial counterparts in most areas of Australia.

* In 2013 the ABC’s primary digital television channel (ABC1) held an average nightly metropolitan prime-time audience of 477,000 per night, which was notably higher than Network Ten’s average audience of 421,000 and placed it third on this measure behind the Seven Network (815,000) and Nine Network (738,000).

* The ABC has also increased its television news service through the introduction of ABC News 24 – a stand-alone, 24-hour news channel delivered on the broadcaster’s digital platform.

* The ABC Local Radio network is also widely consumed in metropolitan markets with 2013 surveys showing that its average daily audience consistently places it in the top three stations in the Sydney market and the top two stations in the Melbourne market.

* Most of the ABC’s broadcast news services are available online, either as streamed content or as catch-up programming, while the ABC News websites held a top 10 position alongside other domestic and international news websites in 2012 and 2013.18

The television, radio and online services provided by the national broadcasters, particularly the ABC, are also prominent in regional and remote Australia, providing audiences with an additional source of news and information in areas where there are frequently few local commercial media outlets. Community broadcasting services, predominantly radio, also add to the diversity of
services available to Australians, although their contribution to diversity of opinion and analysis (i.e. a news focus) is more limited given they tend to be ‘ultra-local’ (produced
by and relevant to particular local communities) or ‘niche’ (providing services of interest to local language or cultural groups within a particular local area).

Reach of media platforms

Looking at the platforms themselves, the print sector has historically exhibited relatively high levels of concentration, dominated by News Corp Australia, Fairfax and APN. In this
regard, it is notable that News Corp Australia and Fairfax titles are, on average, read each week by around 60 per cent and 36 per cent respectively of the newspaper reading public in Australia.

Commercial television and commercial radio, in terms of ownership at least, are more moderately concentrated, with six dominant commercial television networks and major commercial radio networks. However, affiliation agreements, programming syndication and joint venture operations tend to result in fairly homogenous content (i.e. channels and stations) being available to consumers in any given market. This in many respects distorts the picture of media influence across licence areas. For example, the leading opinion or ‘talkback’ radio programs emanate from Sydney with audience
numbers being captured in Sydney licence area ratings data. However, a program may be syndicated and broadcast in other substantial markets, typically regional NSW and Queensland, which significantly increases the reach of the program and therefore its total audience numbers.

There is also a relatively high degree of concentration in the non-regulated media platforms. Subscription television is dominated by Foxtel, with few alternatives beyond a handful of localised subscription television platforms and some IPTV offerings. While there are few regulatory barriers to entry in terms of online media, it is notable that the majority of the online news outlets and portals that are popular with Australians are either directly or jointly owned by traditional media platforms, a point noted in the
following section.

Overlaying the commercial media are the ABC and SBS that, to differing degrees, make a significant contribution to the provision of news and information in both metropolitan and regional areas.

Brief background of one American media mogul operating in Australia

“Scotland Yard detectives plan to interview media mogul Rupert Murdoch about a phone-hacking scandal that led to one of his former top honchos being convicted Tuesday on criminal charges.
Detectives have informed the 83-year-old Murdoch he’ll be grilled “under caution” — a warning given to suspects, according to The Guardian.
The interview is expected to take place in Britain in the near future and could include questions for Murdoch’s son, James, who was executive chairman of News International, the British newspaper reported.
Tuesday’s conviction of Andy Coulson — the disgraced ex-editor of News of the World and one-time flack for Prime Minister David Cameron — could leave Murdoch’s company vulnerable to corporate charges.
Murdoch could wind up being prosecuted under section 79 of Britain’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which holds company directors liable if evidence shows they consented or connived with the wrongdoings of employees.
At least 11 more trials are slated involving 20 other former journalists for News of the World and The Sun, British tabloids owned by Murdoch’s company.
Murdoch also faces a number of civil suits filed by victims whose phones were hacked. His company has already agreed to pay damages to 718 victims.
[New York Daily News, 24 June 2014]

While right-wing Coalition governments around Australia dismantle environmental protections the U.S. Obama Administration promises to create world's largest marine sanctuary

National Geographic 17 June 2014:

U.S. President Barack Obama announced a plan for creating the world's largest marine sanctuary on Tuesday, covering hundreds of thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean, along with new pledges to fight illegal fishing and seafood fraud.
Obama's proposal would expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the central Pacific from around 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles (225,000 to 2 million square kilometers).
It would make the monument the largest protected area on the planet—either on land or in the sea—and two times larger than the currently largest protected area, which is in Greenland. (See: "U.S. Invites Public to Submit Nominations for Marine Sanctuaries.") The sanctuary would cover the full 200-mile (322-kilometer) U.S. exclusive economic zone around seven uninhabited islands and atolls.
"I'm using my authority as president to protect some of our nation's most pristine marine monuments, just like we do on land," Obama said in a taped message to the State Department's Our Ocean conference in Washington on Tuesday.
"We know how fragile our blue planet can be," the president said, pointing to threats like ocean acidification, overfishing, and pollution. "If we ignore these problems, we won't just be squandering one of humanity's greatest treasures, we'll be cutting off one of our major sources of food and economic growth."….

Thursday 26 June 2014

In June 2014 Richmond Valley Council voices opposition to fracking anywhere within its local government boundaries - Metgasco now virtually friendless in the Northern Rivers region

Richmond Valley Council has reportedly stepped back from its ‘netural’ position on the coal seam gas industry and, at its 24 June 2014 monthly meeting unanimously passed a motion voicing its opposition to fracking occurring anywhere with its local government area.

As Metgasco Limited’s Bentley tight sand drilling site (on which it has pinned so much hope) is highly likely to require hydraulic fracturing to release gas flows, this leaves this coal seam and tight gas exploration/mining company virtually friendless on the NSW North Coast.

Motion put to Richmond Valley Council:

Richmond Valley's motion now completes the local government circle in the NSW Northern Rivers region, with all seven councils having put their concerns and/or outright opposition on the public record. 

Links to reasons given by the six other councils: Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Ballina, Byron Bay, Lismore. and Tweed.


The Australian 26 June 2014:

A DRILLING licence for a controversial coal seam gas mine in the NSW Northern Rivers region will remain suspended.
ON Thursday the Office of Coal Seam Gas (OCSG) upheld the NSW government decision to stop Metgasco from drilling in Bentley.
Energy Minister Anthony Roberts suspended the licence in May after an audit found the company had failed to properly consult the community about the Rosella well operation....

Traits of the Abbott Government are beginning to sound distressingly familiar

The longer both the Federal Abbott and Queensland Newman right-wing governments continue to hold power, the more chillingly familiar these characteristics become.....

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism, Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, in Rense.Com:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed
to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Coal Seam Gas: is your local council locked?

Lock Your Local Council

Over the last 2 years councils right across Australia have passed motions opposing coal seam gas and other unconventional gas development and calling for a moratorium. Local councils have led the charge to support the community and prevent reckless and unsafe unconventional gas mining.
Is your council on the list below?  If not, why not approach your council and ask them to oppose the renewal of unconventional gas licences, and to support a moratorium on unconventional gas mining?  Ask them to also seek increased powers for local councils to reject coal and unconventional gas mining.
List of Local Councils Who Have Passed Motions:
South Australia
The following South Australian councils have passed motions noting concern or opposition to unconventional gas mining and exploration:
South East Local Government Association, 13 June 2014
Robe Council, 14 January 2014
Wattle Range Council, March 2014
Mt Gambier, 22 May 2014
The following Victorian councils have passed motions noting concern or opposition to unconventional gas mining and exploration:
State Council of the Municipality Association of Victoria, 16 May 2014
Surf Coast, 26 November 2013
Moorabool, May 2013
Moyne, March 2014
Moreland City Council, 2012
South Gippsland Council, 2012
Yarra Council, June 2012
Port Phillip Council, May 23 2012
Colac Otway, April 2012
New South Wales
The following NSW councils have passed motions noting concern or opposition to unconventional gas mining:
Wagga Wagga, March 2014
Griffith, May 2014
Orange, April 2014
Northern Rivers
Richmond Valley, 15 May 2012
Clarence Valley, 21 February 2012
Kyogle, 19 December 2011
Ballina, May 2011
Byron Bay, 12 May 2011
Tweed, 19 April 2011
Lismore, 13 December 10
Hunter / Newcastle
Newcastle, 5 June 2012
Lake Macquarie, 25 June 2012
Gloucester, 21 December 2011
Port Stephens, December 2011
Singleton, February 2013
Cessnock, 7 August 2013
Central Coast
Wyong, 01 September 2011
Gosford, 02 October 2012
Mid North Coast
Coffs Harbour, 25 July 2012
Great Lakes, 10 April 2012
Greater Taree, 14 December 2011
North-west NSW
Moree Plains, 01 July 2011
Warrumbungles, 01 November 2011
Mid-Western Regional Council, April 2012 (called on government to provide more protection for landowners)
Coonamble, 2011
Walgett, July 2011
Hawkesbury, March 2014
Woollahra, 2013
Liverpool, 2013
Blue Mountains City Council, 27th November 2012
Sutherland, 28 August 2012
Burwood, 24 July 2012
Randwick, 24 July 2012
Campbelltown, 29 May 2012
Canada Bay, 15 May 2012
Ashfield, 27 March 2012
Waverley, 20 March 2012
Camden, March 2012 (Council asked government for report on issues relating to CSG)
Wingecarribee Shire, November 2011
Marrickville, 02 July 2011
Leichhardt, 23 June 2011
City of Sydney, 06 December 2010
Kiama, 13 December 2011
Wollongong, 7 April 2014