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Archive for the ‘GetUp!’ Category

Aussie Election soundtrack & music video thread….

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Just breathe, it’s all gunna be foine.

The ever-on-to-it PossCom has had a great idea – an Open Edition Election Thread of Angst & Therapy.

*using Holden-driving FM radio announcer voice* “Whether it’s a before- or after-party, this’ll keep your virtual loungeroom kicking on. Because what’s a virtual lounge room without a soundtrack? A virtual loungeroom…without a soundtrack.”

But I digress. What’s on your playlist as Earmunch stares down Hatepig?

Some of these are obvious, some maybe not. All should be more fun with coffee than Laurie Oakes. What I’ve got in mind so far is: Read the rest of this entry »


Plain and simple, this weekend in Australia means…

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Like a forest lost for the trees, the constant stream of media, advertising, news, conversations, and emails is almost enough to blur the significance of this election as it looms large just hours from here.

Apart from everything that can be said and has been said, there is one fact of which amazingly little has been made. Three years ago, global warming was barely a blip on the political radar. This election, many voters are ranking it as one of their top four priorities.

Despite the tireless work of The Greens over many years, it is fair to say that more than any other issue in recent memory this is a dazzling example of bottom-up grassroots campaigning gaining an issue broader mainstream awareness. Tim Flannery, Clive Hamilton, Wendy Frew and Al Gore fit somewhere in there too.

And could the timing be any more dramatic? Barely a week after the election, the incredibly massive Bali climate change conference will be working out the future of the global response to the increasingly obvious.

Excuse me for sounding like a credit card ad, but we’re talking 11 days, 198 countries, 3,000 journalists, and 10,000 delegates. Being a part of that? Priceless!!

More immediate than the economy, IR reform, hospital innovations, skills training, education and the mining boom, this is as clear as the consequences of this weekend for all us Aussies can get.

On December 2nd, Australia will once again be the laughing stock of a major global meeting, probably disparaging India and China, and again being locked out of high level talks that will determine the future use and constraints of natural resources, species, industry, border security, and precious natural environments. Oh yes, and trillions of dollars in future earnings and damage abatement.

OR, our representatives will be attending to deposit a letter committing to fully ratify Kyoto and signed by the Prime Minister. For the first time in years, Australia will be embraced by the global community as it faces this massive challenge and America shall finally be without an ally in ‘but they were doing it too’.

For all Australians, what happens in 2 days time is a very big deal. Thanks in part to media bloviation, it is also becoming somewhat abstract.

It is increasingly a din that drowns the senses and numbs the mind. Exciting. Anxious. Huge. Frustrating. Hopeful. Cracker night with pencils.

But for something tangible, consider this: the U.N. reports on climate change have been conservative for the last decade to diminish accusations of exaggeration. But the latest, most thoroughly researched and comprehensively certain observation is this – the Inconvenient Truth ‘ten years to act’ scenario is gone.

We are in the end zone. The global community must initiate decisive action within the next 3 years for any chance that future generations might live as part of a world as rich in natural treasures as ours has been.

On that first weekend in December, a week after this election, the die shall be cast. We, as a nation, shall be either pariah, or prodigal.

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What if there was an election, and no lefties came…?

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It’s almost here Australia – can you feel it: the crisp freshness of revolution in the air, the glaze beginning to fade from the eyes of the downtrodden, a change in the laws of gravity?

No, me either. Consider this – can you even remember how painfully long the Prime Minister made us wait until he announced this election? I think that the Very Clever Politician’s plan all along was to wear us down so that we either forget to vote, or do as we’re supposed to and become too scared to vote for change.

It’s actually my recurring nightmare. I have a mental picture of next Saturday night where all of the following have occurred:

the Coalition hold every marginal seat that has been promised more than $1 million for unassessed random projects

a heap of voters don’t turn out because they figure that everybody else will and also because the outcome is a foregone conclusion

hundreds of thousands of progressively inclined voters who did attend polling booths were prevented from voting because of the new electoral rules.

I’m genuinely chewing off fingers with worry over this outcome. Think of the message this would send. The Eureka Stockade was not about workers fighting for their rights, it was about a bunch of fat, boofy home invaders getting shot dead and rightly so. Iraq was not an illegal invasion – the greatest crime – but a natural extension of Australian foreign policy. Climate change – far from being a global catastrophe that is now truly gathering momentum, is actually a real threat to the coal and aluminium sectors and should therefore be completely ignored… apart from the building of a nuclear reactor or twenty.

I also think that we’re heading into a valuable period of reflection. As much as we should ask at this time what our vision for this country is, and what waters we might steer, I think it will be a particularly good time to ask ourselves what we want from the media in future.

It seems to me that never before have so many journalists so obviously acted as proxy public relations officials for political parties. Grand ideas such as ethics, impartiality, disclosure, and reporting basic facts have gone out the window.

The amazing journalistic scene this election has been set by the psephologists – analysing and interpreting polling data on their blogs. The Poll Bludger, Possum Comitatus, and Antony Green have done a power of good to make sure that some credible analysis has been available at all times.

As much as some paid writers (for saying “journalists” feels like a stretch) have been keen to say how unpredictable the polls are, my favourite piece lately comes from Possum. He/She acknowledges that the polls are indeed narrowing, and do indeed point toward a Howard victory… in July 2008.

What do you reckon, readers?

Written by typingisnotactivism

November 17, 2007 at 1:24 am

Joe Hockey’s clever resignation “promise”

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It’s amazing that when Peter Garrett brushes off a right wing shock jock with a lame joke – far less funny than the one which landed Silverchair’s Daniel Johns in Garrett-related hot water earlier this year – it is a semantic delight of front page proportions across the nation. An arrogant and glib response by Garrett somehow holds the key to a sinister ALP conspiracy. And Santa Claus is dating Elvis.

Melbourne’s Age newspaper was one of the only Australian sources to point out the obvious conflict of interest – Steve Price, the shock jock in question, not only has worse judgment than former MTV head-on-a-stick Richard Wilkins but, more importantly, Price just happens to be married to one of Joe Hockey’s staff. But that surely wouldn’t influence his portrayal of one of Labor’s more heavily targeted shadows.

Funnily enough, when that very same Minister for “Workplace Relations” (read “WorkChoices”) pledges to toughen Workchoices during the next term of a federal Coalition government the story that is neon-lit and trumpeted from rooftops is that he has promised to resign if such a change goes ahead.

“Wait a minute,” you say. . . “Joe Hockey promised that there wouldn’t be a toughening of WorkChoices.”

Well, you’re half right but, more importantly for any Australian making less than 6 figure$, you’re also half wrong.

Here is what Hockey said:

“I will resign as a minister in the Howard government if there are any substantial changes or any of the changes that Julia Gillard has just flagged.”

The choice of the words “as a minister in the Howard government” may just be Hockey’s conveniently bloviated manner of speaking, but the real convenience lies in the fact that this gives Hockey carte blanche to approve any changes he’d like made as a minister in a Costello government. And a Costello government is supposedly what must be expected some time within the next three years should John Howard be re-elected.

So what Joe Hockey has guaranteed is that there are no guarantees. Once John Howard steps down – as has been promised should he hold on to power – then all bets are off and WorkChoices II is not only possible but, under the ultra-conservatism of Costello, likely.

That’s the real story.

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Written by typingisnotactivism

November 6, 2007 at 1:31 am

Australian Election 2007 – already primed for a USA 2000 outcome?

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  • 200 000 voters “missing”
  • 143 000 voters “scrubbed” from the electoral roll
  • 18% of young adults now blocked from voting
  • public verification of rolls also now blocked.

Johnny Fingers - caught by Gary Ramage

On the day that Prime Minister John Howard finally called the election, political lobby group GetUp called foul. Check out Voting is the Best Revenge, but also consider this:

The Orwellian “Electoral Integrity Act” was pushed through by the Howardocracy last year, ensuring that an historically significant share of Aussies will miss out in 2007.

No new enrolments after 8 pm yesterday – Wednesday October 17th – a full 7 days shorter than last time. Previously, close to half a million people enrolled in this period – almost 80 000 being new enrolments. While it seemed that a similar number would miss that chance this time, there has been an additional blowout.

GetUp also have figures showing that in the last few months, 143 000 Australians have been removed from the electoral rolls. If you are one of them, you’re only going to find out on election day – when you don’t get to vote.

But that’s your own fault, surely? Well, no. According to yesterday’s media release – 4 hours before the first closure of the rolls:

the AEC has revealed only hours before the roll closes that it has actually unenrolled 143,000 Australians in recent months, many of whom are not aware of it, despite many having made efforts to correct their enrolment.

In addition to this figure, and although there may be some overlap the lack of transparency now in effect makes it almost impossible to tell, the Bulletin reported on Monday that the rolls are at least 200 000 voters short of the numbers that would be expected in line with Australia’s growing population.

That’s a lot: about 1.5% of the current roll, or enough to generate over two typically sized electoral divisions (the average enrolment per electoral division was 90,246 as of September 30).

Peter Garrett spruiking paper samples for Gunns' potential retail clientsIn August, credible polling found that over 80 per cent of Australians were still unaware of any of these electoral changes. The AEC’s (Australian Electoral Commission) own research has shown that 18 per cent of eligible 18 to 25-year-olds – still close to the 400 000 people admitted by Coalition Minister of State, Gary Nairn – aren’t enrolled to vote. It’s odd, given that their $12.5 million ad spend equated Aussie democracy with grabbing a sausage. What? This didn’t inspire you to register?

These major changes – including the newly snuck-in more frequent “scrubbing” of the roll – were considered by a Senate Committee a few years ago but vigorously opposed by the AEC’s leadership at the time. Since then a changing of the guard has seen a reversal of some previously key positions held by the electoral watchdog.

For example, this link is no longer active. Before it was removed it featured this statement:

Printed copies of the electoral roll for public inspection and public sale are printed at least once during the first two years of the life of the Parliament.

The relevant page on the new AEC website, however, now states that

The roll is not available for sale in any format.

This change was legislated by Howard in 2004. Based on trends in Australian politics, this new level of diminished transparency creates, at the absolute least, an… ‘enhanced possibility in the perception of procedural risk’.

Undeniably, the Howard leadership has modelled both Party politics and national policy on the model assembled under Ronald Reagan and turbo-charged under George W Bush. There are significant differences, obviously, but super-bureaucracy as a barrier between politicians and public, fear campaigns, nationalism, religion as a political mascot – these are significant and common elements of both national governments.

It’s often said that in a democracy you get the government you deserve. Without the benefit of an accountable Senate, many Aussies now look likely to miss out on the vote they deserve.

And it is a concern when any leader – but particularly an admirer of GWB’s – goes to an election where, by their very actions, transparency is diminished, independence of supervision has been questioned, and opportunities for enrolment are at their most restricted in Australian history.

More importantly, what can Australians now do to curtail the risk of major democratic disenfranchisement come election day?



Written by typingisnotactivism

October 18, 2007 at 10:01 am

John Howard pledges to ratify Kyoto

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Clear majority see Howard’s Bush-love as hurtful internationally

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Aussie Poll-Most Say Howard Support of Bush on Climate Change, Iraq Hurts Australia

A national survey conducted by Roy Morgan Research suggests that US President George W. Bush’s vocal support of Australian Prime Minister John Howard is likely to backfire. By an overwhelming margin, Australians told pollsters that Howard’s backing of Bush policies on climate change and Iraq hurts Australia’s international reputation more than it helps.

The poll was released in conjunction with an APEC campaign on climate change by Australian online campaigners GetUp and its global partner Avaaz. It amplifies the 500,000-signature global petition calling for binding global targets for climate change emissions that will be unveiled with a 144 square metre banner at Bondi Beach on Friday.

Among the poll’s findings:

  • Two thirds (69%) of Australians say Howard’s support for Bush on climate change and Iraq hurt Australia’s reputation
  • Only 16% say that Bush’s support for Bush helps Austalia’s reputation
  • Even among Howard’s own supporters, fully half (50%) say Howard’s support for Bush has hurt–with fewer than a third (31%) saying it has helped

Poll question: Do you think that John Howard’s support of George Bush’s policies on issues such as Iraq and climate change has helped Australia’s reputation or hurt it?

Helped it

Hurt it

No Difference/ Don’t Know




Coalition voter (2PP)




ALP voter (2PP)




Conducted by Roy Morgan Research August 8-9, 2007; n=623 adults 18+
This survey was conducted nationally among 623 respondents aged 18 years and over, by telephone over the period of 8th and 9th of August 2007 by fully trained and personally briefed interviewers. Respondents were selected by means of a stratified random sample process. At the 95% confidence level the survey had a ±4% margin of error overall, with higher margins of error in subgroups. Numbers may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Written by typingisnotactivism

September 6, 2007 at 6:23 pm