Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

NATION: Turnbull’s new security suite puts all of us at risk

*Pic: Flickr, Donkey Hotey

First published October 9

Never get between a premier and a bucket of money, Paul Keating warned. Or a Premier and an anti-terror photo-opportunity, he might add, after Thursday’s huge COAG performance. Human rights and civil liberties alike are trampled in the rush by all premiers to be the PM’s dancing partner in a show-stealing anti-terror two step.

It’s all about “keeping us safe,” Turnbull says, announcing what MSM echo is “a suite of measures” in “a further toughening” of national security laws including the extension of detention without charge to 14 days.

It’s a big thing. No longer will Australians have to lie awake at night worrying lest the Australian Federal Police (AFP) runs out of time to interrogate terror suspects, including ten year olds. Police now have a good two weeks to come up with some charge or other. It’s a huge leap forward in public safety. So thoughtful of the community-minded AFP too.

Imagine how much safer longer detention would have kept us last July with the Lakemba Muslim meat grinder plot terror crisis where an entire nation went into lockdown while AFP and a swag of other special forces clearly rushed against the clock to uncover a plot to use a kitchen mincer to blow up a plane and/or gas everyone on board with fart gas. No H2S gas was ever found, nor any gas dispersion device. Nor were explosives discovered.

Police can report, however, that the mincer was 7 kg too heavy to be allowed on the plane and that two of the four men arrested following an overseas tip-off have now been released.

In a sensational late update, AFP reveal that Lebanese authorities also allege a Barbie doll may also have been part of a plot to smuggle concealed explosives on-board an aircraft, not that any explosives had been found. Did the doll also fail the weigh-in check? The Barbie doll plot is not part of any AFP allegations before the Sydney court.

Effortlessly working the Lakemba Four (now two) into his terror shtick, PM Turnbull prepares for his 21st successive NewsPoll with yet another keep-us-safe routine at the special COAG. Lakemba shows how our security forces can disrupt a plot to bring down a plane, he says. You wouldn’t believe how many plots have been foiled.

Dr Mohammed Haneef who was held 11 days in the Brisbane watch-house …

What can possibly go wrong? David Marr, on ABC Insiders Sunday, cites the 2007 case of Dr Mohammed Haneef who was held 11 days in the Brisbane watch-house by the AFP under brand new powers that allowed terrorism suspects to be imprisoned without charge virtually indefinitely. Information was then leaked against Dr Haneef.

News Ltd newspapers reported police found “images of a Gold Coast building” and its foundations in a raid on Haneef’s apartment. Investigators were said to be looking at documents referring to the “destruction of structures”. Haneef was one of a group of doctors who had been learning to fly in Queensland, they said.

A year passed before The AFP dropped its case against Dr Haneef, saying there was insufficient evidence to charge Haneef with any criminal offence. In December 2010, Haneef receives “a substantial” compensation settlement in a defamation and wrongful detention case he brought against then Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

Precedent counts for little in an era of the anti-terror cult, a time where politics runs in the continuous present. In June 2015, then PM Tony Abbott told the nation Islamic state group is coming after us.

Since Abbott, however, the threat of terror is hyped so successfully that according to an ANU poll, nearly half of us believe we or our families are in danger of a future terrorist attack and over half of us would like government to do so much more.

In reality, male partners and police constitute a far more serious danger.

“More Australians have died at the hands of police (lawfully or unlawfully) in 10 years (50 at least from 2006 to 2015) or from domestic violence in just two years (more than 318 in 2014 and 2015) than from terrorist attacks in Australia in the last 20 years,” observed Greg Austin, an international security expert at the University of NSW, last October.

The PM makes no case for the need to extend detention without charge nor does he defend the detention of ten year olds. Instead, he claims on Sky News Sunday, that it’s just business as usual .

Under our criminal law, children can be charged with committing crimes …

‘It is very important to remember that (with) children there is actually no change here. Under our criminal law, children can be charged with committing crimes,’ he tells reporters in Sydney.

But there’s more. The innovative PM unveils Panopticon 2.0, a saucy, if not wanton, invasion of our privacy.

A 21st century digital re-imagining of the eternal surveillance of our convict heritage, Panopticon 2.0 blends a homage to the omnipresent eye of God, with a type of electronic Peeping Tom as it merges images from drivers’ licences with facial recognition software to invade our privacy at all times.

Governments already have massive databases of ID photos from licences and passports. What is new is the sharing and the matching of the data in real-time in what is broadly described as the interests of national security.

The new database will permit real-time access to passport, visa, citizenship and driver’s licence images. Details are vague, however, on the public and private spaces in which mass surveillance will be carried out. The project is a revamp of “The Capability”, a new, improved version of a $18.5 million system, proposed in 2015.

Premiers, who just can’t wait to dance on the grave of a just and democratic society, are just one scene from a week in our bizarre, hyper-surreal post-truth Trumpian politics, which sees our great nation state grow ever larger.

Small government with its red-tape bonfires are now so yesterday. The hairy-chested Stalinist Coalition of today promises to fund coal-mines and even sort out gas companies. It can even roll up its sleeves and shovel coal to keep a dirty old power station like Liddell open. It can certainly keep us all under surveillance 24/7.

Turnbull waves away any suggestion that we’re already suffering toughen-up fatigue, so thick and fast have come the suite of security measures the Abbott-Turnbull government has unleashed on an alert but not alarmed nation.

” … there’s no place for set and forget in any area of national security, but the laws are already very strict”.

Panopticon 2.0 wins Turnbull instant, slavering adulation …

Spontaneous applause breaks out. Panopticon 2.0 wins Turnbull instant, slavering adulation while the concerns of the chattering classes are summarily trashed by all those with their feet up on the commonwealth table.

Desperate Dan Andrews, leads a team of premiers in quickly dismissing those who raise the issue of rights. What would such time-wasters know of the real world of Mal the Sun King Canberra’s bubble or his lunar satellites?

“They’re going to talk about the thin end of the wedge and all this sort of stuff. Well, frankly, that talk is a luxury that may be available to them but it’s not available to political leaders in this country,” he says.

“Notional considerations of civil liberties do not trump the very real threat, the very real threat of terror in our country today. We are going to have to curtail the rights and freedoms of a small number of people in order to keep the vast majority of Australians safe.”

It’s not just talk, either. Last month his government announced plans for new laws that would give police the power to declare special areas where they can search people, cars and houses without a warrant.

From dead-pan Dan there is no inkling that civil liberties belong to us all; affect us all. And laws aimed at “bad guys” often impact far more widely. The NSW Ombudsman found the 2012 revival of consorting laws to deal with crime gangs actually impacted most harshly on Indigenous Australians and homeless people.

“The criminal face database will affect all Australians, even the most conscientious and law-abiding. Given the extremely low level of terrorism in Australia, it’s likely to merely generate massive ‘false positive’ lists and flood our very effective police and security services with useless distraction,” says Privacy Foundation’s David Vaile.

There is nothing remotely “notional”, moreover, about the database nor about changes to law which will extend to two weeks the time anyone, including ten year olds can be detained without charge. Possessing terror instructions and even terror hoaxes are to be criminalised in Turnbull’s toughening up.

McGowan almost eclipses Andrews with his rapid study of the finer philosophical bits of premiership …

Yet Dan’s slogan goes viral. Co-luminary, WA Premier, Mark McGowan almost eclipses Andrews with his rapid study of the finer philosophical bits of premiership by leaving the lot of them to the lynch-mob.

“We are dealing with the civil liberties of terrorists and I don’t particularly care about the civil liberties of terrorists or potential terrorists.”

Yet we are dealing, in the end, with everyone’s civil liberties and whilst much is unspecified about Panopticon 2.0, what is certain is that its mission will creep. Dissenters of all kinds, including those whom this government may define as “eco-warriors”, in reality environmentalists, are in danger.

Already, an eager Cory Bernardi urges the database be used to enhance the Coalition’s war on the poor.

“If we’re going to start gathering data on particular people, I’d like to see that actually happen more in the welfare space as well,” he says, “because I think there’s a lot of people that are ripping us off on welfare and it might be an opportunity to tie in a coordinated approach to identifying individuals who are accessing the welfare system.”

The database may even be corporatised; flogged off to the highest, private bidder. Privatisation has worked so well not only in energy. Think Medibank private, TAFE and the privatisation of IT support for government agencies.

Labor is anxious not to be wedged. Bill Shorten makes no fuss despite the opposition leader’s recent study tour of the Korean Peninsula where supreme leader Kim Jong Un has got the mass surveillance thingy down to a fine art.

Instead, Shorten calls for the Coalition gun amnesty stunt to be extended. He wants life sentences for gun-runners. Exempted, doubtless is our big brother government, which is doing so well out of its secret supply of arms to Saudi Arabia, which has killed 10,000 civilians in its brutal war with Yemen, that it can’t say a word.

The Turnbull government refuses to supply details of its military sales, citing commercial-in-confidence rules, themselves a function of the increasing despotism of a state which pretends its gun-running is a trade secret.

… as if mandatory sentencing were some kind of panacea …

Turnbull tries to wedge Shorten, nevertheless, for not backing mandatory sentencing for gun-runners as if mandatory sentencing were some kind of panacea and not a knee-jerk to shock jocks on Sydney radio.

NSW Bar Association president Phillip Boulten SC says: “There’s no evidence at all that mandatory sentencing ever decreases the amount of crime that’s committed and it has the ability to act unfairly on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.”

Big Fear certainly works on the states – and on the federal opposition, as Labor’s evasion shows.

With no opposition in the field, legal experts are left to explain the reality. Party-pooper Deakin University criminology lecturer Adrian Molnar warns Fairfax the database of driver licence photos, amounts to “mass undifferentiated surveillance that can be used regardless of innocence and no participation in a criminal activity”, warning that such a measure “runs dangerously close” to breaching the legal principle of probable cause.

“It’s just quite simply unnecessary,” adds Nicola McGarrity, UNSW terrorism law expert. Dr McGarrity argues existing laws already allow people to be held pre-charge for up to eight days.

There are no instances she is aware of where an “extra six days would have made a significant difference in making a prosecution or preventing a terrorist attack”, she says

But the states love it. They fall over each other to eagerly leap aboard any public safety bandwagon.

The PM is love-bombed Thursday, at the COAG show, where a tumult of “furious agreement” and “violent agreement” ensues, sighs NSW Liberal Premier, Gladys Berejiklian even if she refuses to let Turnbull have his way later with her state over fracking. She tells him what he can do with his non-ideological energy pragmatism.

If the COAG meeting is intended to lead to agreement on fracking via solidarity on law and order, it fails.

… the PM effortlessly counterfeits a false connection …

Apart from the onset of another Newspoll, why all the fuss? The day before, in a letter to Liberal supporters, the PM effortlessly counterfeits a false connection between the mass shooting in Las Vegas and Australia.

“The tragedy in Las Vegas is a reminder that we must be relentless in our efforts to protect Australians in crowded places so that we can go about our lives safe from harm”

To Guy Rundle, what is remarkable is the absence of concerted pushback. The new laws were announced after almost no consultation and at the prompting of the AFP and ASIO. Big Brother has made himself a lot bigger and there has been very little backlash, despite some concern over ten-year-olds in fourteen weeks’ detention.

For Bernard Keane, however, there is a palpable contrast with the ” deathly silence that accompanied the government’s introduction of mass surveillance of our phone and internet use”. Keane believes there are signs of a “welcome stirring of media and community opposition”.

Certainly the government needs to be challenged on what problem its new Panopticon 2.0 is intended to solve; how its latest “suite of security measures” are anything more than a tub-thumping exercise timed to coincide with News Poll data-gathering to artificially boost the stakes of one our least popular leaders in our nation’s history. It appears to be hastily contrived with few if any real safeguards to the nation’s right to privacy or civil liberties.

There is some hope. As Katharine Murphy notes, the ACT has a Human Rights Act enabling it to impose additional controls on the sharing of facial recognition data with Canberra.

Consequently the ACT has an intergovernmental agreement stipulating the ACT “will allow access to its data via the face identification service for the purposes of national security and community safety only”.

Whilst “national security” and “community safety” are broad, the agreement also acknowledges “the importance of human rights, specifically the right to privacy”.

It’s a small step, but without it, the agreement to share surveillance data reached between federal and at the special national security meeting on Thursday represents a serious threat to a free, democratic and open Australian society.

*David Tyler (AKA Urban Wronski) was born in England, raised in New Zealand and an Australian resident since 1979. Urban Wronski grew up conflicted about his own national identity and continues to be deeply mistrustful of all nationalism, chauvinism, flags, politicians and everything else which divides and obscures our common humanity. He has always been enchanted by nature and by the extraordinary brilliance of ordinary men and women and the genius, the power and the poetry that is their vernacular. Wronski is now a fulltime freelance writer who lives with his partner and editor Shay and their chooks, near the Grampians in rural Victoria and he counts himself the luckiest man alive. A former teacher of all ages and stages, from Tertiary to Primary, for nearly forty years, he enjoyed contesting the corporatisation of schooling to follow his own natural instinct for undifferentiated affection, approval and compassion for the young.

Bernard Keane, Crikey: Labor’s cowardice has delivered us into a surveillance state When Australia’s civil liberties needed protecting, Labor went missing. The consequences are nebulous … but very real.

Guardian: ‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention …

Jack Waterford, Canberra Times: Public accounts committee is a watchdog without spine, guts or function … A want of watchdogs and checks and balances ought to be more of a worry as supine premiers and chief ministers, and a supine federal opposition, refuse to consider protection of individual rights for fear of being wedged by prime ministers and ministers playing politics with national security. …

Mercury: Australia is getting human rights so wrong in its pursuit to look tough on terror

Guardian: Daniel Andrews defends claims that civil liberties a ‘luxury’ in fight against terrorism

Bernard Keane, Crikey: Widening terror laws allows government to pursue non-terrorist enemies When governments use words like “terrorism” and “security”, the scrutiny that should be applied to them switches off, allowing them to get away with far more than they otherwise could.

InnovationAus.com: Biometric backlash begins The federal government’s new facial recognition capabilities are set to be made available to the private sector in what digital rights group have branded a “complete betrayal” of civil liberties. The facial recognition technology would also be used by law enforcement and other agencies for purposes far beyond the initial justification of counter-terrorism measures. Private companies can apply to use the facial recognition software in select circumstances to compare an identity photo with the government’s database of photos. The database would also form a cornerstone of government’s plans for a biometric-based digital identity for authenticating people online. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled plans last week to expand the Commonwealth’s facial recognition system – dubbed “The Capability” – to include driver licence photographs as an anti-terrorism measure. All state and territory government leaders quickly agreed to the scheme in a special Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting last Thursday that lasted less than two and a half hours. Under the new scheme, state drivers’ licence photos will be included in the Commonwealth’s facial recognition system, which would be made available to law enforcement agencies to find the identity of an individual …

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Keith Antonysen

    October 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Far more people are killed in domestic violence situations than by terrorists in Australia. What is the LNP doing?

    Also, more people die from falling out of bed than by terrorists. What is the LNP policy on death by bed falls?

    http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/2562169/more-aussies-die-falling-out-of-bed-than-terrorism/

    Through promoting the Adani mine and further coal power plants the LNP is pushing for more deaths through heat stroke.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/heatwaves-in-australia-this-natural-killer-just-got-deadlier/news-story/7876bd4840e7cbc126c7a04dfa5c8973

    In 2017, a number of spots around Earth experienced record temperatures up too, and hovering around 50C.

    Currently we are experiencing catastrophic climate change; it causes death, loss of personal and public assets, and negative life changing impacts. Through promoting Adani and coal powered stations the LNP are adding to a bleak future.
    Look up “catastrophe” in your dictionary, if you believe that to be the wrong term.

  2. Russell

    October 8, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Welcome to “Big Brother” as if you all weren’t warned decades ago. All these over the top fake security invasion-of-privacy measures should have to go through a referendum.

    Why do all you gutless wonders let it happen?

    Is it the frog in the boiling water trick?

    When will all the useless lazy politician fat bastards fail the weigh-in checks at the airports?

  3. Russell

    October 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

    What’s your next orders from Trump, Turdbull?

  4. Mick Kenny

    October 8, 2017 at 11:38 am

    “Our Sheldon was picked up at the school tuckshop trying to purchase crushed avacado on whole wheat toast after his photo ID flagged him as gluten intolerant. It was all downhill from there …”

  5. Chris

    October 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Safe from Adani, oh the Insiders did not mention.
    Safe from Abbott everyone lock up their daughter’s scholarships.
    Safe from Trump you will see soon.
    Safe from Korea, lets send our Naval Resources.
    Safe from nuclear submarines until after the next election, vive la France.
    Safe from Xenophon, no more dirty deals.
    Safe from “you are worse than me” maybe.
    Safe from its labor’s fault.Safe from gun running, we can sell but not buy?Safe from Pyne the Gun Runner!
    Safe from Asbestosis ?
    Safe from any News Poll, maybe not.
    Safe to say the High Court is safe.
    Safe from potatoes and beetroot.
    Safe to say safe as it is safe to do so, beat that many Trumbull!

  6. Chris

    October 8, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    If the Fizza believes that the SAFE advice he received from the Solicitor General is correct and the High Court does Not find, will he sack the Solicitor General or just say “well the facts are , eh um ah, ah err, is it a safe bet?

  7. Kim Peart

    October 8, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Shine a light into dark places, and find our politicians quivering in a state of fear.

    How did we get so terrified of fairness?

    The drift from a Fair Go for Australia can be traced back to 1962 when we lost our moral compass in the mud of West Papua.

    Up to then we had been working with the Dutch toward the independence of the whole island of New Guinea.

    In 1962 Washington told us to get out of West Papua so they could give half the island of New Guinea to Indonesia, a territory the size of France, all the people like slaves, all the resources, and a 65,000 year old culture.

    The Papuans are the northern tribes of the Australian Aborigines.

    Remember the last Ice Age, when New Guinea was part of the Australian mainland?

    So we obliged, betrayed the West Papuans, and stood shoulder to shoulder with the abuser.

    We stopped doing that in East Timor in 1999, but in West Papua the state function in terrorism continues, and we say nothing.

    We do gain billions of dollars from the resources, but as for human rights in New Guinea, they don’t exist for us any more.

    Yet, I read of 1.8 million Papuans signing a petition calling for a vote on independence, at risk of being shot, or arrested and locked up for decades ~
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-09/west-papua-petition-australias-promise-about-to-be-tested/9025206

    Do we value our democratic rights that highly?

    Maybe we taught the western Papuans the meaning of democracy too well.

    So time rocks on, and decade by decade, we have become more and more authoritarian, needing political control more than debate.

    Will this lust for power generate anger?

    Does anger lead to rebellions?

    Perhaps our best bet for liberty, would be to invite our politicians in Canberra to issue an apology to the West Papuan people over our betrayal of their human rights, and call for them to be allowed a real vote on their independence.

    1,025 selected men being told to step over a line drawn in the dirt under the shadow of guns, a supposed vote run by the Indonesian military, is not a vote on independence.

    But, we went along with that, and voted that it was all OK at the UN in 1969.

    If we can find our heart again then we may be able to retrieve our moral compass from the mud of New Guinea and attend adult education classes about what the Fair Go really means.

    Until then, expect the abuse noose to tighten as we hang our human rights out to die.

  8. max

    October 8, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I will re read 1984, it was a bit before it’s time but now it’s our future. America the land of the free, Australia’s blueprint for our future, check it out. America’s home grown terrorists, Stephe Paddock and George Bush are just 2 that facial identification would fail to stop. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, it’s all in the interpretation and we need to be afraid of who we let do the interpretations.

  9. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 8, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Comment 1’s “Far more people are killed in domestic violence situations than by terrorists in Australia. . . . Also, more people die from falling out of bed than by terrorists” – how very witty, clickbait-friendly and chuckle-worthy!

    What’s not to like?

  10. Bob Hawkins

    October 8, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    #7 Kim, what you say is, to the best of my knowledge, an accurate account of Western-interest treachery towards the people of the former Dutch West New Guinea. Yes, in 1962, Australia, the US, the Netherlands and Japan (in the hope of keeping Jakarta out of the communist camp) conspired to allow Sukarno’s Malay Indonesia to take over and ruthlessly oppress Melanesian West New Guinea.

    I witnessed first hand much of the process behind the 1969 “act free of choice” (as journalists bitterly saw it as we were closely escorted around West Papua by Indonesian intelligence operatives). That non-choice was made by about 1000 selected men and women, many of them not Melanesian and most totally oblivious of the fact that their votes would be responsible for the abortion of a nascent nation. The UN and the rest of the world stood by, barely a voice of protest raised. What has happened since in what is now West Papua amounts to a huge crime against humanity matched by few other horrors.

    Today we are seeing the same brand of moral cowardice on the part of Australian political leaders: they have taken advantage of the threat of terrorist activity to take us farther down the slippery slope towards a police state.

    I don’t mind authorities using more efficient tracking methods to hunt down those who show signs of being a threat to our security. Much more worrying is (i) that the latest bout of unanimous federal-state agreement on the extension of detention without charge relates also to crimes that are not necessarily terrorism-related; and (ii) that kids as young as 10 years can be caught up in this barbaric law.

    All this under the leadership of “small-l-liberal” Malcolm Turnbull, a lawyer who should know better than to put even more harsh laws on the statute in order to police criminals of any type. But I wouldn’t expect anything less of this miserably wedged Tory, who, desperate to keep a job he knows he’s not up to, is probably taking his riding orders from a child-abusing, human-rights violating immigration minister who is soon to be elevated to even more obscene people-persecution duties.

  11. john hayward

    October 8, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Invariably overlooked in the fear-mongers’ catalog is the statistical fact that the greatest threats to freedom in democratic countries are our own right-wing parties. Even good-mate countries like Cambodia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Sarawak, etc are susceptible to going rancid.

    That’s not to say that the measures adopted to address the unrest which will be caused by vastly more serious climate change won’t be much more draconian, just that the vastly more remote threats directly posed by foreign primates are a lot more salable by our own vigilant authoritarians.

    If the Coalition has any value it is in demonstrating that the enemy is often within the walls.

    John Hayward

  12. Simon Warriner

    October 8, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists ..”

    Herman Goering

    As a farmer I know fencing when I see it. I have watched the fences planned out, the lines leveled, the post holes dug, the fence posts rammed home and now I am watching the wire being run out. All the while the shepherds are out and about bringing the mob together and heading them to the yards.

    Time is short, sheeple. Once the wires are strained up you will be fenced in, and from that point on you will be farmed for someone else’s benefit.

    “Whose?” is the question we should be asking of those doing the fencing. Rest assured, it will not be your collective good. But don’t worry, they are from the government and they are doing it for your benefit./sarc

  13. Russell

    October 8, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Re #9
    They are also facts.

  14. Kim Peart

    October 9, 2017 at 12:42 am

    The Centrelink robot is a stark sign of where this all goes, with the robot revolution being used by government to save money and treat people like idiots, even using a reversal of the onus of proof with people being considered guilty until they can prove their innocence.

    The slight fact that there has not been a mass protest over this massive government abuse of citizens tells any observer how far we have slid down the muddy slope into helplessness.

    The brutal truth came home to roost for me when I came to see that our economy uses unemployment and requires poverty to drive growth and create wealth so that some may get a larger share of the national pie.

    In our mute silence and shuffling mumbling we allow a system of abuse that creates homelessness, poverty, unemployment, under-employment, expectations of unpaid work, or underpaid work, over-work for many with work, and housing insecurity.

    Are we ready for a social revolution yet?

    Or are we too far gone?

    If there is any fight left, consider the Finnish solution to homelessness.

    They built homes.

    That turned out to be cheaper than providing shelters.

    Would we dare try that?

    We could try that if a critical number of people woke up and demanded action.

    Similarly, we could solve unemployment and poverty by reshaping our society with a government employment guarantee of a minimum wage which would then set the minimum wage for private enterprise.

    This would end the housing crisis because workers require homes.

    Simple really.

    The use of a universal basic income, promoted by Elon Musk and many others, not taxed, no questions asked, would give all citizens a basic survival income.

    We allow mental prison traps when we will not fight for simple basic solutions, such as providing homes and employment.

    In a society set to lose half of its current paid work over the next decade, and as the teeth of the robot revolution bites ever deeper and savages our society, we have seen where this goes with the Centrelink robot.

    We don’t have to go there.

    We have a choice.

    Will we fight for homes and work?

    Or will we continue to surrender to the slippery slope of unemployment, poverty and homelessness so some can get more pie?

    We can fight back to a Fair Go for all citizens and breathe the free air again in this nation, but to apply the same solutions globally we need a larger fix.

    I explored this way out in my recent TT article ~ Vision Drum.

    Are we ready to beat the vision drum?

  15. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 9, 2017 at 2:49 am

    We have just witnessed a single guy killing nearly 60 people and wounding 500. That could just as easily happen here.

    People who really want to get military grade automatic weapons can still get them if they know where to make the right inquiries. Four Corners did a big expose on the gun running business back in March. It is no different from the drug trade and just as profitable.

    The same goes for explosives. Ammonium nitrate is just agricultural fertilizer. A car bomb in a crowded space could take hundreds of lives. And once the main bomb goes off, IEDs in waste bins, whealy bins, road safety cones, fake commercial street barrows and so on and so forth, or a second vehicle, get fired off five minutes later, which will take out another 100 or so.

    We have a good security system and we have been lucky that our enemies have been mostly amateurs, so far.

    That will not be always the case.

    Just take it on board that at some point we will have to absorb a bit hit. It is just a matter of time. Then all those fancy calculations you have done David, that we don’t have to be as concerned as all that about the terrorist threat, aren’t going to be worth a pinch of shit.

    The bastards will blow your calculations and your ideological complacency to bits. You are as clearly in denial as the other mob are about climate change.

    We are at the beginning of the end of business as usual on a lot of fronts, and on this one you seem to be determined to be the last to find out that a war has already started and coming to somewhere near you within perhaps a 5 to 10 year period if we continue to be as lucky and vigilant as we have been.

  16. Russell

    October 9, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Re #15
    “We have just witnessed a single guy killing nearly 60 people and wounding 500. That could just as easily happen here.”

    Well it didn’t and most likely wouldn’t. We aren’t as deranged as Americans, nor can we buy such weapons at the local Walmart or KMart like they can.

    How come that wasn’t called a terrorist attack? Because he wasn’t Muslim?

    We are more likely to be harmed by our own Government, especially in light of the latest ‘new asbestos’ of PFAS poisoning of our groundwaters all over the country near Defence and firefighting installations. Or selling our ports and resources to other countries. Or allowing known environmentally criminal companies like Adani to have unfettered access to the Galilee Basin groundwater for the next 60 years!

    Add that into your calculations.

  17. Simon Warriner

    October 9, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    re 15, 16.
    The word “allegedly” needs to be included in the first sentence of both posts.

    The lead investigator is equivocating about the presence of a second individual, and there are details that point to other shooters and other locations including police radio comms.

    Let’s wait and see before we load all manner of assumptions onto this event.

  18. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 10, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Russell, it wasn’t characterised as a terrorist attack in the sense that there doesn’t seem to be, at least as far as anyone can presently determine, any agenda at all other than to go out with a bang or…as in this case…several thousand of them.

    But your point Russell is the very thing I originally criticised which is complacency and diversion into data that is not unimportant any more than the road toll is not unimportant, but irrelevant to the matter in hand, which is threat that across everything else.

    I think you both suffer from a sense of invulnerability to substantial and very real virtual and physical security threats that are presently emerging out of state entities, criminal networks and terrorists who just want to disrupt and damage modern society.

    And all this is happening as American power declines and the post-WW 2 moral, political and territorial settlements disintegrate.

    You would have to be living in an ideological bubble not to have noticed that our security situation is much more difficult now than it was ten years ago.

    And I would add that things like the dysfunctional violence that is coming out of our decaying social infrastructure and its very badly damaged sexual politics is deeply connected to the larger malaise that is undermining broader security and stability right down to the grass roots family and gender partnership levels.

    (I totally understand why many of my Muslim brothers and sisters are repelled by our social arrangements. I so agree with them. It is just that their solutions are bit too seventh century for my taste.)

    What really mystifies me Russell that you and your mates haven’t twigged just how fantastically vulnerable modern cities are. Tiny groups armed with little more than knives and vehicles can cause huge ructions and alarm accompanied by massively expensive state responses in terms of police responses and infrastructure investment.

    But the bottom line, is all you would need is a couple of old WW2 vintage 81mm mortars, 4 operators and six perimeter defenders to fend off police counter-attack for as long as possible, aim the damned things at the MCG on grand final day and it would be absolute carnage, not just from the munitions, but the spectator stampedes.

    Range is over two and a half km from nearest protective police units. Rate of fire is 18 rounds per minute. Killing radius of each shell is 25 meters. Likely survival time of attack unit is around ten to fifteen minutes.

    Do the sums Russell. That is why security people get the jitters and have nightmares. The prick in Las Vegas only managed 59 kills and 500 wounded.

  19. Annie

    October 10, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Re 1 and 9-it is true (sad and not witty) that more people-that is women-die in domestic violence incidents in Australia-the most frequently occurring form of terrorism.

    serious injury or death due to domestic violence is not the same as falling out of bed; although the latter can indeed cause serious injury or death. Both are preventable.

    Whilst community and government action plans are addressing domestic violence, together with cultural change due to leadership by men who say no to violence against women and children; it can be helpful to join the dots with such private acts of terror and acts by perpetrators in public places-
    whilst not wanting to profile any group, and recognising that most men are decent and kind, have a look at the private behaviour of some of the perpetrators of community violence. For example, the gunman at the Lindt café issued death threats to his former wife over a period of time, then was an accomplice after her murder when he set fire to her body. The local judicial system ignored her pleas for a restraining order.

    John Howard did the right thing with the gun laws so that they are restricted.

    However, it is very concerning that the NSW Police will be authorised to carry military type machine guns in public spaces.

    On the topic of profiling and the rights of children-it is very concerning that nearly 100% of deaths in custody are those of young ATSI people, who can be detained simply for being out at night or due to the effects of poverty and deprivation or the need for adult safe intervention.

    we need to stand up for the rights of children not to be detained, as it is not good enough. They have the right of legal and safe adult intervention and representation, and also to be diverted from adult prison settings into community based rehabilitation settings.

    It would be helpful if the government were to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  20. John Wade

    October 11, 2017 at 8:34 am

    42 MILLION calls to Centrelink weren’t answered last year. Thousands and thousands of Australians have been harassed with robodebt letters.
    The social security system that sustains our community is crumbling beneath us – and Malcolm Turnbull’s solution? Cut another 1188 more staff and replace them with 250 outsourced call centre workers with Serco.
    250 outsourced staff without proper training cannot fix the robodebt crisis or replace the many more permanent jobs that are being cut. They cannot answer 42 million phone calls a year.
    Sign the petition to say we deserve better – http://www.proudtobepublic.org.au/dhscuts

    The one big question in this contract staff arrangement is, what security checks have been done on these outsourced staff. The minor action of changing the date in the server will crash the whole system and freeze the entire Centrelink network.

  21. Russell

    October 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Re #18
    “You would have to be living in an ideological bubble not to have noticed that our security situation is much more difficult now than it was ten years ago.”

    And you would have to be living in an ideological bubble not to have noticed that it’s only because the USA and allies have trodden and keep tredding on too many toes. Reap what you sow.

    Australia still isn’t filled with home-grown nutcases like the USA, and that’s the main difference in domestic security. The other is that we can’t buy guns at the local supermarket, or without ID, or a licence, or without being over 18 years of age, or as many as we like of what ever type we like.

    They’re the facts, not some hypothetical.

    Anyway, looks like Climate Change will be the promised “Messiah” to sort out the human race’s destructiveness, and with the recent spate of human-induced events of natural disasters the USA seems to be right in its path.

  22. Russell

    October 13, 2017 at 11:00 am

    “I’m so afraid for my country
    There’s an ill wind blowing no good
    So many lies in the name of history
    They want to improve my neighbourhood

    I’m so worried about my brother
    He just gets sadder every day
    We gotta take care of each other
    Or else we’re gonna have to pay

    In the land of the little kings
    There’s a price on everything
    And everywhere the little kings
    Are getting away with murder

    I was born in a lucky country
    Every day I hear the warning bells
    They’re so busy building palaces
    They don’t see the poison in the wells

    In the land of the little kings
    Profit is the only thing
    And everywhere the little kings
    Are getting away with murder

    In the land of the little kings
    Justice don’t mean a thing
    And everywhere the little kings
    Are getting away with murder”

    Paul Kelly – Little Kings.

  23. Christopher Eastman-Nagle

    October 15, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Re#21 The American empire has been in decline since the end of the Vietnam War, which has meant they have increasingly been having to react to events rather than define them.

    It is always a bad sign when any empire loses control of satraps like Saddam Hussein, who quite correctly calculated that the master was possibly weak enough to take on and win. He quite shrewdly calculated that the US needed Iraqi oil more than he did, and that if he held out long enough, they would give in. In the event they didn’t, but, as he was being led to the gallows, he had the satisfaction of knowing he had left them in charge of a completely ruined and ungovernable wreck because to keep his regime going he had screwed the place to death.

    It has been all downhill since then. And their deteriorating position had nothing to do with stamping on toes, which is what keeps an imperial fiefdom in place, but the disintegration of not just its military-industrial power and its once unassailable prestige, but western cultural influence generally, including and most vitally, the hegemony of the secular power over the religious one.

    The fact that the place is saddled with a blustering presidential buffoon is emblematic of the decline. And the fear of Republicans in the House and the Senate is that if anyone calls his bluff the real weakness of the US will be very likely brutally exposed.

    The SU 57 Russian built fighter will cream anything the Americans have, and their cyber security, command and control will be immediately paralyzed. They’ll lose hands down and then it really will be all over for them.

    You are so living in the past, Russell.

  24. Kim Peart

    October 16, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I described how a global conflict may rock, and send us rolling ~
    http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/article/world-war-/

    China and Russia do not like the Western military noose around their necks, and if they begin to cut the rope the knives will be sharp and swift.

    Stuck in the quagmire of old glories, like Napoleon in a Russian winter, we may find ourselves to be easily picked off and sent packing.

    As Russia takes Crimea, China takes the South China Sea and North Korea lifts its nuclear defence game.

    Any spark may send the powder store into the heavens.

    If we will not discover how to be nimble, and how to build a new peace now, we may simply learn how China has learnt the art if Russian roulette.

  25. Russell

    October 16, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Re #23
    You just proved my point, try sticking to it, thank you.

  26. TGC

    October 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    #21 … “Anyway, looks like Climate Change will be the promised “Messiah” to sort out the human race’s destructiveness, and with the recent spate of human-induced events of natural disasters the USA seems to be right in its path.”

    Well, there’s always something and it may be that Climate change is the least damaging of all the devastations that could befall the earth. Polyanna!

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