Friday 1st of July 2016

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by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-07-01 15:44

As Australia rolls towards the polls this Saturday, election talk is everywhere: seeping into cafes, dining rooms and cold nights at the pub.

While public confidence in the schoolyard barbs and robotic debates of the main party leaders is dubious, there's still a feverish expectation in the air. Or maybe it's just the promise of Australia's traditional election fare, the Democracy Sausage.

But for the hundreds and thousands of New Zealanders living and working in Australia - myself included - the chatter falls short. Because none of us can vote.

There are an estimated 650,000 New Zealanders living in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement, which supports the free movement of Australians and New Zealanders across the Pacific.

A lost road to citizenship

Traditionally, the agreement meant New Zealanders and Australians could live and work in either country and receive the same benefits; cementing the shared history, culture and values between the countries.

Australians moving to New Zealand can still vote after one year, receive welfare after two, and become citizens after five.

But after increasing numbers of Kiwis crossed the ditch, fears of New Zealanders simultaneously stealing jobs and lapping up welfare turned public sentiment against them.

The Howard-led Australian government tweaked the arrangement in 2001, blocking a clear pathway to citizenship for New Zealanders. Since then, New Zealanders entering Australia have been granted Special Category Visa (SCV) status.

Essentially guest workers, Kiwis are considered permanent residents for tax purposes, but without access to government benefits, student loans or the ability to apply for citizenship.

It's estimated that 250,000 to 350,000 New Zealanders living and working in Australia since 2001 are subject to these limitations.

The instability of this "guest worker" status was highlighted last year, as hundreds of New Zealanders with criminal records were detained and deported after a change to the Migration Act, which saw the visas of low as well as high-level offenders revoked.

"It is a human rights issue," New Zealand Labour MP Kelvin Davis told me in November. 

"Some people […] have come across as babies: they've been educated in Australia, they've found work in Australia, they've married and had children and grandchildren in Australia. They consider themselves Australian; they just happen to be officially New Zealand citizens."

Snubbed by democracy

Recently, an additional pathway to citizenship has been announced for New Zealanders living in the country for five years or more, to be introduced in July 2017.

But with the required minimum income capped at AUD$53,900 for each of those five years, many Kiwis - especially students, those on unstable wages and new business owners - will still miss out.


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-07-01 13:11

James O'Neill warns that without independent media, we could easily sleep walk into yet another war on behalf of a dangerous “ally.”

THE RELENTLESS, ill-informed and dangerous Russia bashing by Australia’s mainstream media proceeds apace. One of the worst offenders is the grandly titled ‘international editor’ of the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher.

In a lengthy opinion piece in the SMH this week, he claims there are seven longer-run lessons of the UK’s referendum result favouring an exit from the European Union.

Quite how the non-binding referendum decision that may or may not lead to an actual British exit can lead to geopolitical dimensions as wide as “the end of the experiment in pacifist optimism” is unclear.

Hartcher quotes Robert Cooper’s 2002 essay ‘The Post-Modern State’ (2002) that the advanced “post-modern” States were characterized by

'the rejection of force for resolving disputes and the consequent codification of self-enforced rules of behaviour.'

One wonders what sort of “post-modern” world Hartcher inhabits. Since Cooper’s essay these post-modern States have:

  • Continued a 15 year occupation of Afghanistan, commenced a year before Cooper’s essay was written and based upon a series of lies.
  • Invaded Iraq in an ongoing devastation of their society.
  • Violently overthrown the government of Libya, sending that country spiraling down the hierarchy of living standards from being top in Africa to one of the worst.  It is now racked by civil war.
  • Supported a military coup d’état in Honduras
  • Precipitated an illegal war in Syria, creating large scale death and destruction.
  • Supported Saudi Arabia’s illegal war on Yemen, one of the world’s poorest nations.
  • Supported Israel’s ongoing destruction of Palestine

In addition to these overt military actions, there has been constant hybrid warfare waged via such favoured devices as ‘colour revolutions’ economic warfare, sabotage and assassinations.

More ill-informed Russia bashing by Hartcher in the SMH @IndependentAus

— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) February 19, 2016


As recently as this month, NATO has staged large-scale war games on Russia’s European borders. That exercise, Anaconda, included German troops and occurred on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Russia. The Russian-German war cost the lives of 27 million Russian citizens and is the single most important reason why we speak English today rather than German or Japanese.

If such insensitive and provocative exercises represent a “rejection of force” as Hartcher would have us believe, then it takes a decidedly myopic and distorted view of reality to reach that conclusion.

Quite apart from the military aggression in the aforementioned countries, the western media has waged a relentless propaganda war. A particular target of this warfare has been Russia in general and President Putin in particular.

It has become so outrageous that, as one observer noted, if Putin walked on water he would be accused of being unable to swim.

Hartcher has been among the more enthusiastic purveyors of this campaign of disinformation. In his article he writes:

‘Russia invades its neighbours and seizes territory as it pleases, and gets away with it.’

Hartcher does specify what “invasions” he has in mind, or what territory Russia has “seized”. Probably for the very good reason that he could not provide specific examples because they are nonexistent.

If he had in mind Russia’s brief war with Georgia in 2008, that began when Georgia sent troops into Abkhazia and South Ossetia to crush a separatist movement in August of 2008. Russia came to the assistance of the separatists.

Russia withdrew its troops from Georgian territory in October 2008. An independent European Union report published on 30 September 2009 stated that Georgia was responsible for the start of hostilities.

If Hartcher had in mind Ukraine, then he and his newspaper are among the worst offenders in failing to inform its readers about what really happened in that country. Readers of the SMH would be blissfully unaware that there was a violent coup in February 2014, masterminded and paid for by the Americans. Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department was the coup master.

It was as a result of that coup, and its violent aftermath against Russian speaking Ukrainians in the east of the country, that a civil war has been waging ever since.  More than two million Ukrainians fled as refugees into Russia, a fact completely overlooked by the Australian media.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has independent observers in Ukraine, monitoring the Minsk Accord, which Ukraine consistently violates. They have confirmed on multiple occasions that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, although it is abundantly clear from the nature of the ongoing provocations that the U.S. and its allies would dearly like the Russians to invade.

Perhaps Hartcher had Crimea in mind.  Crimea was historically part of Russia, which he would know if he was paying attention in school history lessons when the Crimean War was discussed. Khrushchev “gave” Crimea to Ukraine in 1954. The Crimeans were not consulted.

After the February 2014 coup, Crimea held a referendum, first to separate from Ukraine and then whether to apply to rejoin the Russian Federation. The results were overwhelmingly in favour of secession from Ukraine and for rejoining Russia.

The U.N. Charter, and international law, specifically provide for such processes. When Kosovo wished to secede from Serbia, the Americans mounted a bombing campaign in support of their wish to secede. As far as Hartcher and the SMH are concerned, such history is down the memory hole.

Kosovo is now a centre for drug distribution for Europe and the site of an enormous U.S. military base. Hartcher and the mainstream media never write critically of the vast array of U.S. military bases in Europe and elsewhere. Neither do they report that the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the anti-ballistic missile treaty, all the more able to put missile bases on Russia’s borders, as they have done as recently as this year.

Far simpler to repeat their mindless and fact free assertions that everything the “west” does is from the purest of motives and to deter “Russian aggression.”

It would almost be comic were it not potentially so serious. As Australia has shown with its eager participation in the illegal U.S.-led assault on Syria, the risk of confrontation with Russia is very real. The same is equally true of our participation in military exercises in the South China Sea, ostensibly to deter “Chinese aggression” that Hartcher also writes of with his customary bias.

Peter Hartcher: The fifth columnist @IndependentAus

— Sandi Keane (@Jarrapin) June 29, 2016


This election has been marked by an almost complete absence of policy debate about foreign affairs. This is partly because Labor and the Coalition sing from the same song sheet in their eagerness to appease the Americans.

Only the Greens have released a foreign affairs policy document that actually raises the serious issues Australia ought to be addressing. As Hartcher’s article shows, we cannot rely upon the mainstream media to fill the policy void with other than half-baked analysis.

Were it not for the alternative media, we could easily sleep walk into yet another war on behalf of a dangerous “ally.”

James O'Neill is a former academic, and has practiced as a barrister since 1984. He writes on geo-political issues, with a special emphasis on international law and human rights. He may be contacted at,9175

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-07-01 12:16

appearing deceptively measured, Tony Blair adds oils to the fire...



Tony Blair has called for “serious statesmanship” in the talks with the European Unionthat will shape the future of the UK after Brexit.

The former prime minister warned “our nation is in peril” after the vote to leave the EU and the negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the other countries would be of “extraordinary complexity”.

He urged the contenders in the Tory leadership race to act with “genuine patriotic regard” to the country’s future as he accepted his own party was “effectively disabled”.

In an article in the Daily Telegraph, Blair said: “There is going to be a negotiation of extraordinary complexity where there are a thousand devils in every detail. Those we used to call ‘our European partners’ are, unsurprisingly, divided and uncertain themselves.”

He said some countries wanted a quick divorce, while others favoured a delay in commencing the article 50 process, which starts a two-year countdown to Brexit.

read more:


Tony Blair should be in prison.


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-07-01 10:23

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.


The Sydney Morning Herald has been fooled again...


It did not challenge John Howard's war on Iraq and accepted that the United nations had authorised the war which the UN had not. This lack of "authorisation" was the reason why only the US, the UK and Australia were the only countries involved — illegally — against Saddam. 


We never saw a proper "legal" advice given to John Howard either, despite him promising to do so. He called his advice a "sound legal basis" which is very different from a proper legal document which Howard, like Blair could not get without fudging.


Howard, Blair, Bush should be in prison. Abbott should be interned in a loony bin for committing troops in Syria without any legal basis either. Turnbull should also be committed for continuing this charade.


At least the SMH has recognised it was fooled by Abbott but it cannot see the same crap is coming back at us because the vacuum salesman has changed. Idiots !

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-07-01 09:43


If Australia gets this decision right, the nation should enjoy the economic strength and social progress to create greater opportunities for all. Given the choice between a Coalition led by the socially progressive economic reformer Mr Turnbull, and a Shorten-led Labor party backed by reform-resistant unions, we support the election of a Turnbull government.


Independent? The SMH? Always? BUGGER OFF. This is the last time I buy the Sydney Morning Herald... Go to hell. Turnbull lies better with a smile than Abbott with a stick ! The "editorial" board of the SMH bought the clever crafted bullshit, basically refusing to survey all the crap and backflips of Turdball on most important issues such as climate change, the CSIRO and education and etc. Talk is cheap. And the "Labor turmoil" (dysfunction), which the SMH is not ashamed to point out, was mostly created by stupidity and aggression of the MMMM with Murdoch press leading the charge by dangling a rabid Abbott like a monkey on a rope that you catch at a merry-go-round to win the booby prize. And to say the least the Labor "dysfunction" brought far more progressive equitable policies than the Howard/Abbott/Turnbull years combined...

Yes the Herald "Mea Culpa" is telling but the dogs at the SMH have learnt NOTHING ! Nothing ! The Liberals (CONSTIPATED CONservatives) now led by Turdball are the same mongrels that were led by Abbott. Progressive? My foot. The Turnbull team is the same team of Abbott supporters with the addition of a few ultra-right wing rabid loonies... 

The SMH mea culpa:


Such trust can be sadly misplaced. When the Herald supported Tony Abbott at the 2013 election we criticised his negativity. But given Labor's dysfunction at the time, we thought Mr Abbott deserved a chance to unite a "tired and despondent nation".

Mr Abbott fundamentally betrayed the nation's trust on governance, fairness, social cohesion and policy development.

Australia deserves better than that.

YEP!  WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THE MALCOLM TEAM OF HIDDEN ABBOTT RABID SUPPORTERS waiting to be unleashed... AUSTRALIA and SYDNEY DESERVE BETTER newspapers THAN THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD and that horribly rancid Daily Telegraph. In what cardboard box has the SMH editorial team been living for the last nine months?


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2016-07-01 08:37


I wasn’t able to watch the Today interview for a variety of technological reasons, and am relying on a transcript from a feed service which is sometimes hilariously inaccurate. Please shout if you see any horrendous errors here.

Turnbull has reaffirmed that Tony Abbott will not be given a cabinet position.

“The ministry that I take to this election is the ministry I will have after the election.”

Lisa Wilkinson asks if it’s not better to have Abbott inside the tent, so to speak.

The election is not about the personality of people. It is about the personality of 24m Australians. When I get out in the community what Australians are talking about is their families. The future of their families, their kids, their grandkids. That is what I’m focused on.

On a GST rise to 15%, Turnbull is forthright.

“We rejected it. We said why we rejected it. Because it would be inequitable. Seriously, we looked at it very carefully. We did not kick it into the long grass for political reasons. There will be no changes to the GST and we have explained why there won’t be.”

He is less forthright on the matter of bulk billing, as Wilkinson asks five times if he will guarantee no more cuts to it.

“The bulk billing is at an all-time high. We have kept the Medicare rebate where it is over the forward estimates. We have done that in order to be able to spend more money on health bring lifesaving drugs on the PBT, being able to increase your funding for front line mental health service like more Head Spaces and suicide prevention trials. What we are doing is making the health dollar go further. But we are absolutely committed to your high levels and growing levels of health funding and absolutely committed and guaranteeing Medicare.”

But no more cuts. Do you guarantee no more cuts to bulk billing?

“Lisa, there are no cuts to bulk billing. Bulk billing is growing.”

But as of today, as of July 1 there is no more bulk billing for blood tests and X-rays?

“With great respect that is not right. There is bulk billing is continuing, it is continuing right across the board.”

But not for blood tests or X-rays?

“The report that we have... Lisa, there is support for bulk billing from the doctors. Bulk billing from the doctors. Bulk billing has never been higher and bulk billing is continuing following the agreements that Susan Ley has reached with those particular specialists and consultations. Bulk billing is continue and in fact they are the highest levels of bulk billing in our history. That is a fact.”


read more:

Meanwhile the Bullshit Betoota Advocate tells us that:


Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has criticised his successor’s election campaign, saying the focus has strayed in the final days because Malcolm Turnbull hasn’t focused on the “big issues” in this election.

Abbott believes Turnbull is too caught up in political populism to address the issues currently faced by old people in Sydney’s Upper North Shore who don’t believe in Climate Change

Mr Abbott told Sky News last night that it had been an election campaign “where a lot of big issues have been touched on without really being developed”.

“Malcolm has not been saying ‘boats’ enough. It’s almost like he wants it to be a close race,” he said.

This morning Peter Dutton obliged and linked refugees with terrorism...



by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-06-30 22:45

Boris Johnson says he will not run to replace British Prime Minister Cameron

Ever the showman, Boris Johnson called it the "punchline" when he announced he could not be the person to lead the UK. A unifying figure was needed for the country, he said, and "that person cannot be me."

read more:

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-06-30 17:31

The revelation follows news that social media giant Twitter has launched an investigation into the Liberal Party after it faked a copyright claim to try and shut down a joke account that likened Ms O'Dwyer to Sophie Mirabella.

Last week Fairfax Media reported that Ms O'Dwyer had taken the extraordinary step of forcing Twitter to dismantle the joke account @Kelly_dnuSophie, which compared her election campaign in Higgins to the disastrous 2013 loss of Indi by her friend and fellow Liberal Sophie Mirabella.

The joke account had barely more than 200 followers at the time – "a significant proportion of whom are pornbots" said one of the students who started it – but the public comparisons to Ms Mirabella's failed campaign seemingly irked Ms O'Dwyer.

As the "is Kelly the new Sophie" comparisons gained traction, an official complaint was lodged by Jennifer Freind (sic), who is described as the "social media advisor to the Victorian Liberal Party".  She issued a "Digital Millennium Copyright Act (USA) takedown notice", claiming the copyright to photographs used by the account was owned by Kelly O'Dwyer.

Twitter locked the account in response, however, most of the photographs on the site appear to be under copyright not to Ms O'Dwyer, but to Fairfax Media.

Twitter's latest determination of "Case #34662656" isn't good news for Liberal Party of Victoria or Ms O'Dwyer.

"Upon further review of the DMCA notice  ... we have determined that the notice is invalid," states the social media giant. "The content has been restored and [the] account has not been penalised."

Twitter has also issued a please explain to the Liberal Party of Victoria, and wants to know why it faked a copyright claim over the photos in order to shut down the account. 

Ms O'Dwyer's office has not responded to questions or a request for an interview.

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-06-30 17:07

 The U.S. military’s efforts to confront the Islamic State in Syria suffered another setback Wednesday after the militants routed the only group to have survived intact an ill-fated Pentagon program to train and equip moderate rebels last year.

The U.S.-backed New Syrian Army said it was forced to withdraw its forces to its base at Tanf near the Jordanian border after launching what appears to have been a poorly conceived offensive aimed at capturing the strategically important eastern Syrian town of Abu Kamal on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Islamic State claims published by its Amaq news agency that its fighters had killed 40 members of the group and captured 15 could not be independently confirmed and appeared to be exaggerated. Islamic State social media accounts posted photographs and videos showing brutalized bodies, the beheading of one fighter and small quantities of captured, U.S.- supplied weaponry.

The New Syrian Army said in a statement only that it lost “several men” before the group “successfully departed” to Tanf, more than 150 miles away in remote desert terrain near the Jordanian and Iraqi borders.

read more:


Between you, me and a Lamppost in Vladivostok, the best way to defeat ISIS is to let the Russians and Assad fight it full on, while the other mob should lay down their weapons and make peace with Assad. Here one would have to be circumspect as some ISIS personnel would try to pass as "moderate" and infiltrate the Syrian forces. Thus a simple rule should apply. The Russians know what to do on that score: trust no-one.

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2016-06-30 16:28

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has used his final major speech of the marathon election campaign to warn Australians against voting for independent candidates, saying it could lead to chaos and instability.

Mr Turnbull has tried to present the Coalition as a force for stability at his National Press Club address, saying Australians want the federal parliament to end theatrics and "offload ideology".

The Prime Minister also acknowledged that Australian politics had been beset by instability since Kevin Rudd was elected in 2007, and zeroed in on voters contemplating a vote for third parties.

"It is a roll of the dice that could well result in Bill Shorten as Prime Minister, with unions, Greens and independents pulling the strings," Mr Turnbull said.

"This threat is real. So when it comes to the minor parties — be they Lambie, Xenophon, Lazarus or Hanson — Australians need to consider very carefully the impact on practical policy outcomes, and the workability of the parliament."

read more:


Yes Mr Turnaround... 

Which party has been the MOST OFFENSIVE IN THEATRICS AND has "OFFLOAD' IDEOLOGIES? The LIBERAL (CONSERVATIVE) PARTY, of course... This is why we need some check and balances, not a blank cheque to do any crap like in the New South Wales government...