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Issue #1909      March 30, 2020

DEMOCRACY UP IN SMOKE

Australia used to be a nation that pursued and upheld democratic values and ideals. Now it’s nothing better than a neo-colonial power, especially in its sordid and immoral treatment of Timor-Leste over its oil deposits. The trial comes later this year where the establishment accuses Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery for leaking information to the Timor-Leste government about the disgraceful conduct of ASIS in bugging that government (i.e. spying) during negotiations over their oil field. Collaery maintains the trial was delayed while negotiations were in train, and it certainly looks that way.

The unethical behaviour of our present thugs and criminals in Canberra would not have been countenanced by earlier governments, such as Curtin or Chifley. Nowadays, we see a revolving door in place for ex-government ministers going onto fossil fuel boards, such as Alexander Downer, Foreign Minister during the bugging, who went on to act as an advisor to Woodside Petroleum which operates Greater Sunrise (the Timor oil field)! Such acts used to be described as taking “brown envelopes” or “back-handers”.

Court processes of this country have been attacked; The independence of the judiciary has been purposefully weakened under National Security Legislation – an excuse for obfuscation of what the government is doing because of “terrorism.” This should never have been allowed, and earlier – more honourable – governments would never have allowed it to happen. This government is dismantling our democracy along with the values Australians have always held to be sacrosanct, such as justice, fairness, and decency. This governing in secret must not be allowed to continue. But, alas, the present generation seems asleep at the wheel and unable to recognise criminal behaviour as such.

Australia has always welcomed migrants, but currently, the treatment of asylum seekers is abhorrent: not just keeping them indefinitely offshore but in more evil and subtle ways not seen nor understood by the public. We have thousands of asylum seekers in the country caught up in a humanitarian crisis. They’re living in the community while their applications are assessed – which takes forever because the number of public servants dealing with them has been cut to the bone. Meanwhile, the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) which provides a “living’ allowance” leads to homelessness, destitution and despair. Now, this government has reduced the eligibility criteria for even this and those receiving it in 2018 – some 13,000 – have been reduced to fewer than 5,000. It’s obvious that this government is relying on charities to take up the slack.

Through the same vein of fund-cutting falls the disaster of the 2019/20 fires where more than 18 million hectares of land – the equivalent of seventy per cent of New Zealand – was destroyed. In April and September 2019 the former Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner, Greg Mullins, wrote to the PM to arrange a meeting about the impending bushfire crisis, which CSIRO scientists had prophesied. Interestingly, Scott Morrison took his family to Hawaii as the flames took hold.

The 2008 Garnaut Climate Change Review had also predicted that fire seasons would start earlier, end later and be more intense. They went on to say that such an effect would increase over time but would be “directly observable by 2020.” Fire management experts in May 2016 had told a Senate enquiry that they needed more aerial fire-fighting resources and that a national large fixed-wing air-tanker capability was a logical and necessary strategy. It might be a good time to note that the lack of resources which, in turn, increased the stress and fatigue suffered by the inadequately resourced fire-fighting personnel could have been responsible for the loss of three Americans flying an air-tanker over NSW.

With the intensity of these fires guaranteed for the future, we need more equipment and personnel, not less. The Australian government seems to be incapable of listening to the scientists, or perhaps more accurately, ignoring any facts that might interfere with their relentless pursuit of an economy “in the black.” There’s a wilful neglect of spending money where the safety of its population is concerned. Trillions can be spent on the military but can’t be found to buy more fire-fighting equipment and training future firefighters.

And now we see how our government handles the coronavirus pandemic, closing the stable door once the horse has bolted! How much longer can our country – and even the planet – continue to support such cretinously incompetent and down-right crooked governments?

Next article – ANTI-WAGE THEFT, PRO-HONEST MISTAKES

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