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

Monday, 12 August 2019

So is there an army of "Quiet Australians" backing the Morrison Coalition Government or is it just another political myth

The Morrison Coalition Government, its ministers, senators and MPs, have been making much of the notion that there is a large mass of citizens who quietly agree with them on every subject they discuss and every policy position they hold. 

This survey suggests that rather than there being a large number of head nodders in the community, these so-called 'quiet' Australians may broadly disagree with the Morrison Government on issues involving treatment of vulnerable people and low income households - especially when it comes to the Newstart Allowance 
level of payment

Monday, 24 June 2019

Is Australia really a fair and just country or is it nothing more than a collection of Scott Morrison clones?

In 2017-18 there were on average 236 requests for housing assistance made every day which were not able to be met by specialist homelessness agencies across Australia.

This figure represents in excess of 86,000 requests for emergency housing assistance - from individuals, couples, parents with small children and elderly Australians -  which were not met in thatfinancial year.

Yet social housing stocks does not appear to be keeping pace with population growth or the needs of people living in insecure accommodation or existing on the street.

Social housing as a share of all housing has been falling since the start of this century and, in total state, territory and federal governments spent est. 2.1 per cent of total government expenditure on social housing and homelessness services in both 2016-17 and 2017-18 according to the Productivity Commission's Reporton Government Services in 2018 & 2019.

Affordable and available private rental is also in short supply.

Homelessness is not confined to the cities either. Here in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales there are hundreds of people without accommodation.

By the end of 2018 the Australian population had grown to over 25 million people and an estimated 190,000 were on social housing waiting lists. 

The population now stands at an over 25,384,573, with est. one birth every 1 minute and 40 seconds, one death every 3 minutes and 19 seconds and one person arriving to live in Australia every 56 seconds,

At state, territory and federal levels government is well aware of the housing situation, yet Morrison & Co in particular still describe calls for further spending on government services such as housing as being calls based on the “politics of envy”.

These days I often read comments on social media asking when it was we stopped being a fair, just and kind country.

Well the truth is that Australia was never the fair, just and kind society we liked to think it was.

Just look at out history when it comes to Aboriginal Australia, children in institutional care, our aged and disability care systems and our treatment of refugees.

What governments since Federation have done is paper over the cracks between what we are and what we believe about ourselves. They did this by funding a wide range of government services to meet basic human needs like safety, shelter, food, education and health care.

Since 2013 the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has been walking away from adequately providing many of these basic services, by year in and year out failing to increase funding, reducing funding or cutting funding altogether.


This is what the Australian Parliamentary Library had to say on the subject of homelessness in March 2018:

On 14 March 2018, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released their homelessness estimates, based on the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.
Under the ABS definition, a person is homeless if they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:
 is in a dwelling that is inadequate, or

·         has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable, or

·         does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.
    The key homelessness estimates from the 2016 Census are that:
·         there were 116,427 people enumerated in the Census classified as being homeless on Census night (up from 102,439 in 2011)

·         the homelessness rate was 50 persons for every 10,000 persons—up five per cent from the 48 persons in 2011, and up on the 45 persons in 2006

·         the homelessness rate rose by 27 per cent in New South Wales, while Western Australia fell 11 per cent and the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory each fell by 17 per cent

·         most of the increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 was reflected in people living in 'severely' crowded dwellings, up from 41,370 in 2011 to 51,088 in 2016

·         the number of people in supported accommodation for the homeless in 2016 was 21,235; almost unchanged from 2011
·         there were 17,503 homeless people in boarding houses in 2016, up from 14,944 in 2011

·         the number of homeless people in improvised dwellings, tents or sleeping out in 2016 was 8,200, up from 6,810 in 2011

·         people who were born overseas and arrived in Australia in the last five years accounted for 15 per cent (17,749 persons) of all persons who were homeless

·         the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were homeless was 361 persons per 10,000 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, a decrease from 487 in 2011

·         the number of homeless persons aged 55 years and over continued to increase, from 12,461 in 2006, to 14,581 in 2011 and 18,625 in 2016 (a 28 per cent increase between 2011 and 2016). The rate of older persons experiencing homelessness has also increased, from 26 persons per 10,000 of the population in 2011 up to 29 persons per 10,000 in 2016 and

·         the male homelessness rate increased to 58 males per 10,000 males, up from 54 in 2011, while the rate for females remained steady at 42 per 10,000 females.

Severe crowding and social housing

As noted above, a majority of the increase in homelessness between 2011 and 2016 was a result of more Australians living in severely crowded dwellings. This was also the case between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses.

While homelessness is not just the result of too few houses, severe overcrowding does suggest that there is a need for more housing that is affordable to low- to middle-income earners, and social housing in particular. Social housing is housing that is managed by either state and territory housing authorities or community housing providers and made available at below market rates to people who are unable to access suitable accommodation in the private rental market.

Despite Australia’s social housing stock having grown over the years, this has not been at a rate sufficient to keep pace with household growth and demand. As at 30 June 2017, there were 189,404 applicants on the waiting list for social housing across Australia. A significant proportion of these applicants are likely to be households in greatest need—that is, households that are homeless, in housing inappropriate to their needs or that is adversely affecting their health or placing their life and safety at risk, or, have very high rental housing costs.

Severe overcrowding is particularly prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with 70 per cent of homeless Indigenous Australians in this position. The latest homelessness estimates indicate that the rate of homeless Indigenous Australians fell between the 2011 and 2016 Censuses. If this rate is to continue to fall then this may hinge to some extent on the outcome of negotiations currently underway between the Australian Government and the states and territories over Commonwealth funding for housing for Indigenous people following the expiry of the National Partnership on Remote Housing in June 2018.

Homelessness by geography

In the linked spreadsheet, the Parliamentary Library has compiled homelessness estimates by ABS geographical areas and homelessness operational groups. Table 1 details total homeless persons by Statistical Area 2. Table 2 sets out total homeless persons by Statistical Area 3 and operational group.

Table 1 also lists the Commonwealth electorate that is most aligned with each SA2. Electorate estimates cannot be derived from this table.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

PRESS FREEDOM IN AUSTRALIA: Letting The Light In - Part Two

The Canberra Times, 6 June 2018:

2GB radio host Ben Fordham also revealed this week that he has been contacted by the Department of Home Affairs about his reporting, with the department investigating how he obtained "highly confidential" information about asylum seeker vessels.

Fordham said the department was seeking his co-operation with the probe, which could become a criminal investigation and "potentially" involve a police raid.

The original radio broadcast……

2GB Radio, Sydney Live with Ben Fordham, 3 June 2019:

The Department of Home Affairs is investigating reports from Sri Lanka that up to six boats could have recently attempted journeys to Australia.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton admitted last week there could be a wave of illegal vessels headed for Australia after 20 Sri Lankan asylum seekers were sent back.
A senior source in Home Affairs has told Ben Fordham Mr Dutton is currently in Sri Lanka because “there could be up to six boats in play”.

Out of the six believed to be headed for Australia, some may have been disrupted.
Ben says the recent wave of illegal boats could be because of the recent federal election.

“Is there a chance that the people smugglers were able to flog seats on boats… because they thought Labor was going to win the election?”

Full original segment audio can be accessed here.

Further reading

North Coast Voices, 9 June 2019, PRESS FREEDOM IN AUSTRALIA: Letting The Light In - Part One

North Coast Voices,  June 2019, On 4 June 2019 federal police raided home of Newscorp journalist over story detailing an alleged government proposal to spy on Australians

Sunday, 9 June 2019

PRESS FREEDOM IN AUSTRALIA: Letting The Light In - Part One

It has been reported that the day this article (set out below) was published by the Australian public broadcaster, the then Chief of the Defence Force and Acting-Secretary of Defence referred said article to the Australian Federal Police.

Six days short of two years after that Defence Force complaint and, after a lengthy investigation by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force as well as the arrest of a whistleblower in September 2018, the AFP decided to raid ABC offices at Ultimo on 5 June 2019.

This raises a suspicion that the two raids conducted over the last 48 hours may have been held back so they did not occur during the recent federal election campaign - thus raising politically sensitive questions the Morrison Government might have been obliged to answer before polling day.

As this is the third instance in which journalists and a radio commentator have been approached in the last few weeks by either the federal police or the Dept. of Home Affairs and questioned over source/s of information contained in articles or on air commentary, one has to wonder what the Morrison Government and its agencies are playing at.

The original article……

ABC News, 11 July 2017:

Hundreds of pages of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children.

The ABC can reveal that some of the cases detailed in the documents are being investigated as possible unlawful killings.

The Afghan Files

This is one story in a seven-part series based on leaked documents exposing Australian special forces troops’ role in the Afghanistan war. For context, they are best read in order.

The documents, many marked AUSTEO — Australian Eyes Only — suggest a growing unease at the highest levels of Defence about the culture of Australia’s special forces as they prosecuted a bloody, secretive war against insurgents across a swathe of southern Afghanistan.

One document from 2014 refers to ingrained “problems” within special forces, an “organisational culture” including a “warrior culture” and a willingness by officers to turn a blind eye to poor behaviour.

Another document refers to a “desensitisation” and “drift in values” among elite Special Air Service soldiers serving in Afghanistan, while others allude to deep divisions between the two elite units which primarily comprise the special forces - the SAS based in Perth and 2 Commando Regiment based in Sydney.

A large proportion of the documents are reports on at least 10 incidents between 2009-2013 in which special forces troops shot dead insurgents, but also unarmed men and children.

The Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force is investigating at least two of the incidents as part of its inquiry into the conduct in Afghanistan of special forces, which includes alleged unlawful killing…..

Read the full article here.


* Details of the first AFP raid on the home of a News Corp journalist on 3 June 2019 and the 2018 article which allegedly prompted that raid is at

* Further ABC stories:

Still waiting on the official report concerning the alleged unlawful killings……

ABC News, 8 March 2019:

A lengthy investigation into possible war crimes committed by elite Australian soldiers in Afghanistan will not be made public before this year's federal election.

Senior military and government figures have told the ABC they are not expecting the long-awaited report by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) to be ready for release until at least the second half of this year, well after voters go to the polls in May.

In 2016 the IGADF began examining "rumours of possible breaches of the Laws of Armed Conflict by members of the Australian Defence Force", but inside the special forces community frustration is growing at how long the process is taking.

One special forces veteran, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the ABC that there were "natural justice impacts" from having the inquiry extended, and that it was "painful" for those involved.

"I can only hope the ultimate findings are of sufficient gravity to justify this extended process," the former high-ranking Commando said.

For almost three years New South Wales Supreme Court Justice and Army Reserve Major General Paul Brereton has been leading the secretive IGADF investigation, which is believed to have uncovered numerous concerns about the conduct of elite soldiers, including several incidents of possible unlawful killings.

Many in the ADF had originally anticipated the inquiry would be completed by 2018, but in a statement to the ABC the Defence Department has confirmed the independent IGADF inquiry is "ongoing"……

Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

AMA accuses Morrison Government of deliberately constraining supply of public hospital services

ABC News, 24 May 2019:

"Have you got insurance?"

It is one of the first questions any patient is asked when they walk into an emergency room in the United States, no matter how sick they are.

And now Australian doctors are warning our own health system is shifting towards a similar US managed care model — a patchwork of private and public systems, where health insurers hold an increasing amount of power.

The president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Dr Tony Bartone, made the comments as he addressed the group's national conference in Brisbane on Friday.

It was the first time Dr Bartone has spoken since the Coalition was returned to power, and he gave an unusually scathing assessment of Australia's health system and the Federal Government.

He called for further private health reforms, telling doctors the increasing corporatisation of the private health system had given insurers unprecedented power within the health sector.

Dr Bartone warned that could lead to a system similar to the model in the US, where patients experience significant variations in care depending on their insurance cover.

"Insurers should not determine the provision of treatment in Australia, they should not interfere with the clinical judgement of qualified and experienced doctors," he said.

"Australians do not support a US-style managed care health system, and neither does the AMA."

The AMA has consistently called for more money for public hospitals, and on Friday Dr Bartone went even further as he accused the government of "making a choice" to constrain the supply of public hospital services.

"Let me be clear. Public hospital capacity is determined by funding," he said.

"The consequences are significant. They can include increased complications, delayed care, delayed pain relief, and longer length of stay for admitted patients."

Dr Bartone said the system was "stretched so tight" elective surgeries were being cancelled.

"Our public health system should be better than this. It is unacceptable our public hospitals have been reduced to this," he said.

"Our public hospitals are struggling and require new funding to be better tomorrow.....

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government May 2019: new crew on the political ‘Titanic’

With no plans to genuinely address climate change mitigation, in denial concerning the slowing national economy and pretending that Australia is not in breach of its human rights obligations on two fronts (treatment of Aboriginal adults & children and detained asylum seekers), Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott 'Liar from the Shire' Morrison released his new ministry list on 26 May 2019.

Friday, 24 May 2019

The 2019 federal election is over - so now the Morrison Government cuts are on again

Patient to GP Ratio [RACGP, General Practice: Health of the Nation,  2018]

Having waited until the 18 May 2019 federal election was over, Prime Minister 'Liar from the Shire' Morrison 7 his cronies are rolling out the funding pennypinching once more - and it's no surprise that it's the very young, very old and the poor who are the targets again.

ABC News, 22 May 2019:

Bulk billing of children and pensioners, as well as home visits to elderly and dying patients, could be scrapped in outer metro areas across Australia because of cuts which doctors say they will not be able to afford.

An incoming change to bulk-billing incentives has pushed GPs to breaking point, medical groups have warned, requiring them to provide crucial primary health services for less than the cost of a barber's cut.

The Federal Government has changed a key geographical classification, scrapping some outer suburban zones of incentives intended for rural areas.

From January 2020, the bulk-billing incentive in outer metro areas will be reduced from about $10 to $6 per patient, per visit.

The changes will affect GP practices in as many as 13 outer metro regions, including in Canberra, Adelaide's south, the New South Wales Central Coast, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula.

The Australian Medical Association SA president, Dr Chris Moy, said many of the affected regions are low socio-economic areas.

He said the changes could put more pressure on already costly hospital systems, because patients could no longer afford to visit their GPs regularly.

"This is an example of a just a small change. It's not a huge change, but it's enough to break the camel's back," he said.

"It's more difficult for individuals to pay a gap in those situations so it's unfortunate this has happened."

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners president Harry Nespolon said general practitioners in the city and in the country were effectively being asked to work for free.

"The Medicare rebates are insufficient to provide the care that patients need," Dr Nespolon said.

"I don't think people want their GPs to do work for nothing but that's effectively what we're being asked to do.

"If the services become marginal in the sense they don't cover their costs, then they've got a choice — they can either go out of business or charge a fee.

"GPs in practices everywhere, rural or otherwise, are considering whether or not the current amount of rebate if they do bulk bill a patient is able to keep them in business."…….

Quick explanation of rebates:

·       The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is a list of medical services for which the Australian Government provides a Medicare rebate.

·        Each MBS item has its own scheduled fee — this is the amount the Government considers appropriate for a particular service (e.g. getting a blood test or seeing a psychologist).

·        Rebates are typically paid as a percentage of the Medicare scheduled fee. In the case of GP consultations, the rebate is 100 per cent of the schedule fee.

·       This means that bulk-billing GPs agree to charge patients the Medicare schedule fee ($37.60 for a standard appointment) and are directly reimbursed by the Government, and there is no cost to the patient.

·        GPs who don't bulk bill charge a fee higher than the Medicare schedule fee, meaning patients must pay the difference between the schedule fee and the doctor's fee — out of their own pocket.

·       For example, if your doctor charges $75 for a standard consultation, you'll pay $75 and receive a rebate of $37.60 — leaving you $37.40 worse off.

According to the federal Dept. of Health areas which will be losing the higher bulkbilling incentives (for treatment of patients with concession cards and children under 16 years) include:

Mandurah (WA)
Mornington Peninsula (Vic)
Canberra (ACT)
Newcastle (NSW)
Central Coast (NSW)
Queanbeyan (NSW)
Maitland (NSW)
Sunshine Coast (Qld)
Gawler (SA)
Geelong (Vic)
Melton (Vic)
Pakenham (Vic)
Ellenbrook (WA)
Baldivis (WA).

However the existing patient to GP ratio in an area is not necessarily the primary factor in determining who is on or off this list.

It seems you only have to live in an area where the local town/city has grown to over 20,000 residents since 1991 to find GPs being deprived of the full incentive payment per concession card/child patient seen.

Anyone living in the regions mentioned will know that what can appear to be a comfortable patient to GP ratio is not always evenly spread and in some areas certain GPs have already closed their books and are not taking new patients or are having difficulty attracting new GPs to established practices to fill unmet needs.

Just to make matters clear. some of the named places which will see GP incentive payments reduced on 1 July fall into the categories of regional or peri-urban area and, as at 30 June 2018 Australia-wide there were only 6,994 GPs in Inner Regional areas and 3,285 GPs in Outer Regional areas, according the the federal Dept. of Health statistics.

Where Australia's finances stand ahead of the convening of the 46th federal parliament

Given that Australian Prime Minister Scott ‘liar from the shire’ Morrison has already signalled that he does not intend to allow truth to interfere with his political rhetoric – describing truth telling as verballing that he “won’t be allowing to happen” – now is perhaps the time to remind ourselves of the truth about the nation’s finances under Morrison & Co ahead of the commencement of the 46th Parliament.

According to the Dept. of Finance the Morrison Government’s Assets and Liabilities as at 31 March 2019 (12 days out from the start of the 2019 federal election caretaker period) were:
• net worth minus $450.5 billion;
• net debt $376.7 billion; and
• net financial liabilities $656.4 billion.

In March 2019 the general government sector’s total revenue fell short of its total expenses by $1.5 billion.

The Australian Office of Financial Management reported on 17 May 2019 (the day before the federal election) that the face value of Australian Government borrowings (ie the national debt) stood at $538.2 billion.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s May 2019 Statement on Monetary Policy - Economic Outlook  has expected Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the year ending in June 2019 at %, revised down from 2½% due to a slower domestic economy.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Morrison Government signed off on a controversial uranium mine one day before calling the federal election

ABC News, 26 April 2019:

The Morrison Government signed off on a controversial uranium mine one day before calling the federal election, and did not publicly announce the move until the environment department uploaded the approval document the day before Anzac Day.

The Yeelirrie Uranium mine, located 500 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, requires both federal and state approval.

The state approval of the proposed mine is still being fought in the state's Supreme Court by members of the Tjiwarl traditional owners.

In 2016, the West Australian Environment Protection Agency advised the mine not be approved, concluding it posed too great a risk of extinction to some native animals.

The former Liberal Barnett government controversially approved the mine in 2017, just weeks before it lost the West Australian election.

Canadian company Cameco, the world's largest uranium producer, is seeking to develop the uranium mine, which would cover an area 9km long and 1.5km wide.

It would involve the clearing of up to 2,422 hectares of native vegetation.

It is also approved to cause groundwater levels to drop by 50cm, and they would not completely recover for 200 years, according to Cameco's environmental reports.

A spokesperson for Environment Minister Melissa Price said the approval was subject to 32 strict conditions to avoid and mitigate potential environmental impacts.

Traditional owner of the area, Tjiwarl woman Vicky Abdullah, said she was surprised by the announcement, and was hoping for the project to be rejected.

"It's a very precious place for all of us. For me and my two aunties, who have been walking on country," she said.

Mine approval a controversial move ahead of caretaker mode
Simon Williamson, General Manager of Cameco Australia, told the ABC he was pleased Ms Price had approved the mine before calling the election.

"Yeah, that's likely to raise questions about rushed decision and all that stuff, but the state [government] made their decision in January 2017," he said.

"The timing was such that all of [the assessment] was completed to allow her to sign off before the election. I think it's quite appropriate and I think the minster would want to sign off on projects on her plate before she goes to an election……

Dave Sweeney, an anti-nuclear campaigner at the Australian Conservation Foundation said the timing suggested the decision was political.

"We need decisions that are based on evidence and the national interest, not a company's interest or not a particular senator's or a particular government's interest," he said.

"This reeks of political interference rather than a legal consideration or due process."

The approval is one of several controversial moves the Government made before entering caretaker mode, where such decisions would be impossible, including approving Adani's two groundwater management plans for it's proposed Carmichael coal mine.....

The Guardian, 27 April 2019:

A multinational uranium miner persuaded the federal government to drop a requirement forcing it to show that a mine in outback Western Australia would not make any species extinct before it could go ahead.

Canadian-based Cameco argued in November 2017 the condition proposed by the government for the Yeelirrie uranium mine, in goldfields north of Kalgoorlie, would be too difficult to meet.

The mine was approved on 10 April, the day before the federal election was called, with a different set of conditions relating to protecting species.

Environmental groups say the approval was politically timed and at odds with a 2016 recommendation by the WA Environmental Protection Authoritythat the mine be blocked due to the risk to about 140 subterranean stygofauna and troglofauna species – tiny animals that live in groundwater and air pockets above the water table.

A Cameco presentation to the department, released to the Greens through Senate estimates, shows the government proposed approving the mine with a condition the company must first demonstrate that no species would be made extinct during the works.

Cameco Australia said this did not recognise “inherent difficulties associated with sampling for and describing species”, including the inadequacy of techniques to sample microscopic species that live underground and challenges in determining whether animals were of the same species. It said the condition was “not realistic and unlikely to be achieved – ever”.

The condition did not appear in the final approval signed by the environment minister, Melissa Price, which was made public after being posted on the environment department’s website on 24 April…..