Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Barack Obama should “show enough conscience” not to come to Australia for next month’s G20 summit, accusing the US President of “rubbing our faces” in the aftermath of the international spy scandal by making the trip.
Mr Shorten on Monday scaled up his criticism of Mr Obama, whose attendance at the economic forum in Brisbane was confirmed by the government on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters in Melbourne, Mr Shorten said he understood the government could not act unilaterally to prevent Mr Obama from attending an international conference.
But he said he believed most Australians would not welcome the US President’s visit and “laying out the red carpet” was not the way to “deal with an international bully”.
“There’s plenty of evidence to indicate indirect if not direct presidential involvement in the NSA which saw literally fucking billions of people spied on, with no justification or rationale,” Mr Shorten said.
“How is it that the President of the United States will thumb his nose at the rest of the world, go wherever he wants without there being any repercussions or any cooperation with the independent investigation as to how this happened?
“I believe Obama knows more about what happened with the NSA than he’s let on.”
Original can be found here.
Joe Hockey says “The poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far”. I couldn’t afford to own a car until I was 25. I would actually agree with Joe Hockey for a definition of “the poorest people”.
Enter Labor/media spin. Take the quote, then imply that Hockey actually said something different, like “The bottom half of the country don’t drive that much”. Ignore that this is not what he said.
Enter all the faux impoverished who get on their high horse and say “I’ve got a $300k mortgage in the burbs and a car so I’m poor, Hockey is SUCH a dickhead.”
Hey listen up Labor propaganda consumers, until your money leftover after rent, vegetarian meals and the bus to uni is in the single digits, you don’t know what it is like to be “the poorest people”. I do. As much as I think that Hockey is a self entitled grub, in this case, he’s not actually wrong.
One last thing: opposing indexing the fuel excise to CPI on the basis of “It’s going to hurt struggling families” is the same argument Tony Abbott used against the Carbon Tax. Just saying.
ResearchGate has been gaining infamy with scientists all over the world. It’s almost everyday that you get an email from ResearchGate asking you to join. This spam is annoying but is easily fixed by blocking ResearchGate in your email. Unfortunately, ResearchGate is doing the worst thing possible to scientists across the world: breaking search and making it hard to access information.
An example of this is found in this page. It came up as the number four result while searching on Google for mathematical modelling terms. It has the abstract to a paper, the DOI for the paper, but no link to the paper itself. There’s a button which says “Request full text”, but pressing this does not take you to the site hosting the paper, but to a registration page instead.
ResearchGate isn’t just a slightly annoying social layer to engaging with scientific content; it actively breaks the systems that researchers, government bodies (such as the NIH) and journals built to make accessing scientific content easy on the internet (such as the DOI system) by replacing high ranking search results with their rubbish. Meanwhile it uses those very same systems to scrape for data to build their business.
ResearchGate is actively destroying the functionality of search and hence productivity of scientists across the world. Google should stop serving ResearchGate results for general searches of scientific terms.
in a blunt response to a question about how a young person who had lost unemployment benefits would be able to afford it, the treasurer said: “I would expect you’d be in a job.”
It’s not really a surprise to me that a minister from the Howard government, who took us to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, would claim that we have to make deep cuts into the public sector (including cuts to scientific research) while pulling $12B out of a hat for new planes to defend against an invisible enemy. That’s about 4 times the budget of the Australian Research Council, CSIRO and NHMRC combined. It represents a grand change in the focus of the government from promoting development to defending what we have currently.
For the sake of this ludicrous argument that “we need to defend ourselves” let’s look to the north for this invisible enemy. There are 230 million Indonesians (10x our population), 1.2 billion Indians and 1.3 billion Chinese (56x our population each). When you rank Australia in terms of density, we’re 266 out of 280 countries. Our north is either not worth stealing, or we’re not capable of defending it even with fancy planes. What will protect our sovereignty is acting as an ally not just to the US but also to major partners in Asia. Last time I checked arms races are not part of being good neighbours.
It is a false premise that 23 million people will be able defend our fronts simply through technological superiority. It assumes, most importantly, that we are more technologically capable than China. Hate to break it to you guys, but we don’t make microchips. We don’t design microchips. Let that sink in for a little while.
This is probably going to be the most unpopular thing I ever say, but we should really just assume that if it came down to a fire fight between Australia and China that we would have our arses thoroughly whooped. Even if you think that somehow our army is smarter or whatever false glorification you give to the Australian military, they have the bomb. They have nukes attached to ICBMs. We don’t and it would be a violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty if we were to obtain them.
Even accepting the “big army” mindset, Abbott’s just spent 3.3% of our current budget on a single piece of equipment. That doesn’t include weapons, pilots, engineers etc needed to service these planes. And it doesn’t include the rest of the cost of the armed services. “But it’s over several years” you claim. That just means we don’t have any capacity to buy new technology in the future. One thing about war is that the modes are never the same, and heavy commitment to a single type of military technology leaves us wide open to attack if that technology is not relevant to a future war scenario.
Not only is this decision a bad decision in terms of the raw cost involved. It is also a bad decision in terms of the type of equipment purchased. These fighter jets are US produced. The US have bases all over the world, control of GPS systems, aircraft carriers and a country with hundreds of medium sized cities. Australia has basically no appreciable overseas presence, no control over GPS systems, no aircraft carriers, and 6 medium/large sized cities with basically nothing in between over distances measured in the thousands of kilometres. What makes anyone think that a jet optimised for US use would be any good for an Australian setting?
It’s a good thing that we aren’t a European nation, otherwise Abbott would take us to war with Russia this winter.
- Here is the proposed legislation. I know you haven’t read it. Read it before saying anything more about it, please.
- Here is the original Section 18C in the act. Yes, you don’t know what the original act says. Read this too.
- Greens once objected to ‘offence’ as being too low of a bar for being against the law. That is, they opposed part of the law Brandis is repealing.
- The proposed amendments adds ‘vilify’ to the act, which is good. It has a couple of defined legal meanings in states in Australia.
- The amendments also remove the ‘good faith’ provisions in section 18D and has been replaced with the following, which means basically any incitement of hatred (including intimidation) is allowed: “This section does not apply to words, sounds, images or writing spoken, broadcast, published or otherwise communicated in the course of participating in the public discussion of any political, social, cultural, religious, artistic, academic or scientific matter” The President of the Human Rights Commission had a good talk with Tony Jones about this.
- The amendments say that requirement for ‘vilification’ “is to be determined by the standards of an ordinary reasonable member of the Australian community, not by the standards of any particular group within the Australian community”. It means that if your vilification is socially acceptable by the majority of Australians, it doesn’t count as vilification. So the average white person decides if someone from a minority has been vilified.
Conclusion: these amendments are bad. I would probably side with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity commissioner in 1991 in saying the ‘offence’ and ‘insult’ should not be prohibited by the law. But these amendments in their current form basically make any sort of incitement of racial violence or hatred legal. Ironically, I don’t believe that Brandis intended to make inciting racial violence legal, but the amendments are so poorly written that this is the likely consequence. While it can be said that the Liberals went to the election promising to repeal section 18c, the Brandis amendments significantly change 18D as well, for which the government cannot claim to have a mandate.