Halloween is tomorrow! Here are a few things you should know.



candy and beer pairings



me with coffee vs zombie



candy corn hole cartoon



what to do if your house is haunted pie chart



Any other advice on how to Halloween?


Post a Comment

Posted by Mia – Labels: Bill G., Cartoon, Chris C., Russ E., Valerie S. – See more at:

What Is Love?

I liked this post very much. You may find it interesting to have a read of it. Carole has a lot to say about her life experiences. Very well written indeed.

Author -Carole Parkes

Cross-Stitched Wedding

What is Love?

Does anybody know what love is? My guess is no-one can define it, or put it into a single sentence, least of all me. Neither am I an expert on marriage, but, having been married for 49 years, and witnessing my parents’ long marriage; I do feel I might know a bit about it. Enough anyway, to express some views on love, and what makes a relationship work.

My parent’s marriage lasted nearly 76 years, and they never stopped loving each other despite the trials thrown at them. My mum was 18 and pregnant when she married my dad, who was 22. My mum, an only child, had already lost her father when she was 15; he’d had a stroke. Her mother was also ill, from the effects of breathing in cotton fibres at the mill where she worked. She died aged 45 when my mum was just 20. Just…

View original post 1,145 more words


Early morning on the 30th Oct 2014
Early morning on the 30th Oct 2014




















Early yesterday morning Peter and I went for a lovely walk. The above pictures are from that walk. Today is the last day of October – HALLOWEEN! Some years ago there would always some children come to the door to “trick or treat”. They do not come any more. Why? I suppose they did grow up over the years. But why have not any other children taken their place?





These Irises looked beautiful when they were fresh.
These Irises looked beautiful when they were fresh.

Englobo, Speculative Vacancies, the Wealth Illusion‏


Lee Sie
Englobo 2014 Report Launch – tomorrow night 

Thursday, October 30th, 6.30 – 8pm
Level 2, 22 Punch Lane, Melbourne
Presenter: David Collyer
RSVP, donations appreciated

We hope you will join us tomorrow evening as David Collyer launches Englobo 2014 – Land Banking Profits during a Housing Supply Crisis. The investigation into just how much land Australia’s biggest property developers are holding and the effect on the housing market  is set to be as explosive as ever.

For an introduction to the concept of Englobo and why it matters check out this article from David’s first Englobo investigations in 2012.

Alper Cugun
Speculative Vacancies 7 – Report Release 

Wednesday, November 12th, 6.30pm
Level 2, 22 Punch Lane, Melbourne
Presenter: Catherine Cashmore

RSVP, donations appareciated

The 7th Speculative Vacancies report will again raise awareness of the need for property held for capital gains to be included in Australia’s housing vacancy measures. Only looking at ‘housing for rent’ is not accurate as a vacancy measure in this investor-dominated market. Our vacancy rate typically doubles the vacancy findings the mainstream media quotes. With the capital gains in the land game regularly tripling the yearly rental incomes available, there is less and less motivation for investors to risk their kitchen cupboards on a ‘reckless renter’. Catherine Cashmore, the winner of the EJ Craigie writing award, will inject her unique investigative manner to this year’s report.

The final vacancy numbers are again shaping up to reveal a jaw-dropping number of under-utilised properties in this era of the Housing Supply Crisis.

Please save the date and invite your friends feeling the housing stress!

Unaffordable housing not making us wealthy

Earlier this month Credit Suisse released their latest Global Wealth Report which found that based on our extremely high house prices Australians are the richest people in the world. In contrast to most of the media Warwick Smith cuts through the illusion in this article reposted to the Prosper website:

“The true beneficiaries of ever increasing real estate prices are the banks and other lenders. Most Australians spend a very significant proportion of their incomes paying interest to the banks, either directly on their own mortgages or indirectly via their landlords. The higher house prices go, the more income is captured by the banks. Saddling our young people with a lifetime of debt is not a cause for celebration, it’s a problem to tackle.”

Also at Prosper Leith van Onselen discusses how to get the states on board with federal tax reform and cites Prof. John Freebairn’s address from this year’s Henry George Dinner.

Want to share? There’s a catch…

The “sharing economy” is in the spotlight again with Salon writer Richard Eskow warning that we’rebuying into a digital myth about wealth creation that we can only ignore at our own peril:

“These corporations are monopolists – and much more. They’ve quickly assumed extraordinary influence over our lives. They control what we know, what we see and how we spend our time. They decide who knows our most intimate secrets. They are acquiring the kind of power totalitarian governments of the past could only dream about.”

As Facebook, Amazon and Uber exert every increasing influence on the market – and our lives, it’s time to make sure we are truly paying attention.

The forgotten coup

Much has been written on the many achievements of great reforming Prime Minister Gough Whitlam since the news of his death and we would like to recommend adding this article by John Pilger to your reading list. Pilger explores Whitlam’s radical attitude towards foreign policy and our colonial ties as a forgotten but critical factor in his political demise.

“Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility.”

Retired Army Gal
Rounding Off

If you missed the last few editions of Renegade Economists make sure you head to our Mixcloud pageand check them out. Matt Ellis from Rational Radical joins Karl for a lively discussion about his petition calling out Senator Nick Xenophon for pushing superannuation access as a vehicle for housing affordability. Last week Karl was joined by Jacob Wills ( to discuss the commodification of housing and the protest movement against the international property convention that was just held in London.

On a lighter note, the G20 summit is fast approaching and we highly recommend giving this latest addition of the Rap News a listen.

As always thanks for your support. You can get involved via our website, or head to our twitter feeds where there’s always plenty of lively discussion – @earthsharing & @don’tbuynow.

See you tomorrow evening for Englobo,
Jess Wright
Office Manager.


John Pilger writes about the forgotten Coup

The forgotten coup – how America and Britain crushed the government of their ‘ally’, Australia

23 October 2014


Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.


Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.


Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth.


Latin Americans will recognise the audacity and danger of this “breaking free” in a country whose establishment was welded to great, external power. Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided “black teams” to be run by the CIA. US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years.


Whitlam knew the risk he was taking. The day after his election, he ordered that his staff should not be “vetted or harassed” by the Australian security organisation, ASIO – then, as now, tied to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the US bombing of Vietnam as “corrupt and barbaric”, a CIA station officer in Saigon said: “We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”


Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.


Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House… a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”


Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”.


Kerr was not only the Queen’s man, he had long-standing ties to Anglo-American intelligence. He was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal in his book, ‘The Crimes of Patriots’, as, “an elite, invitation-only group… exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA”. The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige… Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money”.


When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as the “coupmaster”, he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors – described by an alarmed member of the audience as “an incitement to the country’s business leaders to rise against the government”.


The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”


On 10 November, 1975, Whitlam was shown a top secret telex message sourced to Theodore Shackley, the notorious head of the CIA’s East Asia Division, who had helped run the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier.


Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. It said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s NSA where he was briefed on the “security crisis”.


On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.


Follow John Pilger on Twitter @johnpilger and Facebook –

What IAN VERRENDER says in the Drum about the Economy under Whitlam

Think Whitlam ruined our economy? Think again

Posted Mon at 8:30amMon 27 Oct 2014, 8:30am

What is never recognised is the Australian economy under Gough Whitlam outperformed its peers, most of which floundered during one of the most turbulent periods of modern economic history, writes Ian Verrender.

Time. It tends to blunt the edges, soften the memories and, for most of us, perhaps even heal some old wounds.

The generous and genuine outpouring of admiration and emotion following Gough’s second Dismissal last week, much of it from unexpected quarters and old political adversaries, touched on an element of the national psyche that illustrates everything that is good about Australia.

As expected, not everyone could bring themselves to be magnanimous, to acknowledge the achievements, to recognise the profound impact of a man who forever removed us from a cloistered, claustrophobic and conformist era for which some conservatives still pine.

But as Winston Churchill once observed: “You have enemies? Good. That means you have stood up for something in your life.”

The achievements of the nation’s 21st prime minister were thrust to the fore all week; universal healthcare, education, law reform, women’s rights and indigenous rights on the domestic front, on the global stage, his recognition of China.

But if there is one vulnerability, one chink in the Whitlam legacy and legend – apart from the shambolic ill-discipline within cabinet – it is in his government’s handling of the economy.

And so began the venomous sniping, within hours of his passing, from a joyless handful forever confined to the shadows and whose anger and bitterness festers and feeds upon itself.

The conventional wisdom is that, from an economic perspective, the Whitlam government was an unmitigated disaster.

Certainly, the raw numbers bear that out. And there is plenty of evidence to support the notion that the new government believed economic management was a secondary consideration to its social agenda.

What is never recognised, however, is that the Australian economy under Whitlam outperformed its peers, most of which floundered during one of the most turbulent periods of modern economic history.

Former treasury secretary John Stone left no doubt about his sentiments – if doubt existed – in his Australian Financial Review piece last Thursday.

As Stone tells it, the economy only grew “superficially” between 1972 and 1975. Given the National Accounts do not record a measure of “superficial growth”, presumably Stone means the economy did not experience a recession.

On every other measure, however, Stone claims the economy was in crisis. Private investment in dwelling and non-dwelling construction slumped, wages growth was out of control, peaking at 30.5 per cent in 1974-75, there was a rapid expansion of the public service and personal income tax grew 34.3 per cent in 1973-74.

Interest rates rose alarmingly, Stone recalls, while inflation peaked at 16.7 per cent in 1974-75. Investor confidence evaporated, he argues, with the All Ordinaries Index “tumbling 39 per cent between June 1972 and June 1975”.

It is a damning assessment on any measure, given particular credence by his position at the time front and centre of the action.

Except … there are a vast number of monumental omissions in Stone’s piece, which a cynic may deduce was specifically designed to give the impression that the economic malaise of the time was a purely Australian experience, that we alone were on the slide due to the incompetence of the incumbent government.

As Stone rightly points out, Australia did not go into recession. What he fails to mention is that America did. So did the UK. And they were no ordinary recessions.

Both our northern hemisphere allies endured long and painful slumps, the chaotic fallout from which reverberated through the global economy, including Australia.

Not only that, inflation ran wild in both the northern hemisphere economic superpowers and throughout the developed world. It was a global recession that marked the dramatic end of the post-war boom.

This was the time of rampant stagflation, a rare phenomenon in economics where inflation and unemployment rise simultaneously. It’s a nightmare scenario for policymakers. Raise rates to dampen inflation and you exacerbate unemployment. Try to fix the jobs crisis and you fuel inflation.

There were a number of factors behind the global recession.

The Bretton-Woods financial system – instituted after the war that tied the US dollar to the price of gold – collapsed in the early ’70s, itself enough to engineer a significant slump in global activity. This followed attacks on the currency as the US ran up a constant series of balance of payments deficits.

The sudden collapse of the system and the immediate devaluation of the US dollar, which from then on became a fiat currency valued against other currencies, created havoc on trade and current account balances throughout the developed world.

Add to this that the Arab world had formed the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and in 1973 deliberately squeezed supplies.

The price of oil quadrupled between October 1973 and the following January. That’s correct, energy prices rose 400 per cent in four months, sending shockwaves through developed world economies, underscoring the dramatic price rises that, in turn, fed through to wage demands.

Between 1973 and 1975, the Whitlam era, inflation in the UK grew from 7.4 per cent to 24.89 per cent – vastly higher than anything experienced in Australia.

Great Britain was wracked by industrial disputes. Miners walked off the job, coal supplies dwindled. So dire was the energy situation, UK prime minister Edward Heath instituted the three day week as commercial electricity users were restricted. Food queues formed.

America, meanwhile, endured its worst recession since the Great Depression between November 1973 and March 1975. While the unemployment spike was relatively short-lived inflation soared from a relatively modest 3.65 per cent in early 1973 to a 12.34 per cent peak at the end of 1974 before tapering off during 1975.

Stone’s contention that the collapse in Australian share prices was an indictment of Australia’s economic management may hold some merit. But again, we weren’t alone. In fact the Australian decline in share prices was modest compared with those on Wall Street and London.

Described as the seventh worst crash on record, between January 1973 and December 1974, Wall Street lost 45.1 per cent of its value. In London, meanwhile, the FT 30 declined a massive 73 per cent.

Gough Whitlam’s first two treasurers, Frank Crean and Jim Cairns, were widely criticised for their performances. Cairns, especially, appeared to be distracted by assets of another kind, and spending during his reign blew out spectacularly.

But Bill Hayden’s budget, delivered shortly before The Dismissal, had many in the Opposition worried. It was a responsible document designed to bring inflation and unemployment under control.

Whitlam is not the first to be lashed by Stone. He quit as treasury secretary days before Paul Keating’s 1984 budget and Peter Costello was lambasted for introducing the GST.

A close ally and informal advisor to Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Stone railed against Asian immigration and eventually joined the National Party, a party that until recent times strongly espoused protectionism.

Despite Stone’s towering intellect and formidable qualifications, perhaps Whitlam’s greatest mistake on the economy was to not recognise the failings of one of his senior bureaucrats, an insular man who, four decades after the events, still fails to grasp the impact the global economic upheaval had on Australia.

Ian Verrender is the ABC’s business editor. View his full profile here.

Topics: government-and-politics, business-economics-and-finance, budget

About Capitalism

From the International Spiegel:

The Zombie System: How Capitalism Has Gone Off the Rails

By Michael Sauga

Photo Gallery: The Deline of Capitalism?Photos
REUTERS/ Metropolitan Police

Six years after the Lehman disaster, the industrialized world is suffering from Japan Syndrome. Growth is minimal, another crash may be brewing and the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen. Can the global economy reinvent itself?

A new buzzword is circulating in the world’s convention centers and auditoriums. It can be heard at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund. Bankers sprinkle it into the presentations; politicians use it leave an impression on discussion panels.

The buzzword is “inclusion” and it refers to a trait that Western industrialized nations seem to be on the verge of losing: the ability to allow as many layers of society as possible to benefit from economic advancement and participate in political life.The term is now even being used at meetings of a more exclusive character, as was the case in London in May. Some 250 wealthy and extremely wealthy individuals, from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to Unilever CEO Paul Polman, gathered in a venerable castle on the Thames River to lament the fact that in today’s capitalism, there is too little left over for the lower income classes. Former US President Bill Clinton found fault with the “uneven distribution of opportunity,” while IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde was critical of the numerous financial scandals. The hostess of the meeting, investor and bank heir Lynn Forester de Rothschild, said she was concerned about social cohesion, noting that citizens had “lost confidence in their governments.”

It isn’t necessary, of course, to attend the London conference on “inclusive capitalism” to realize that industrialized countries have a problem. When the Berlin Wall came down 25 years ago, the West’s liberal economic and social order seemed on the verge of an unstoppable march of triumph. Communism had failed, politicians worldwide were singing the praises of deregulated markets and US political scientist Francis Fukuyama was invoking the “end of history.”

Today, no one talks anymore about the beneficial effects of unimpeded capital movement. Today’s issue is “secular stagnation,” as former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers puts it. The American economy isn’t growing even half as quickly as did in the 1990s. Japan has become the sick man of Asia. And Europe is sinking into a recession that has begun to slow down the German export machine and threaten prosperity.

Capitalism in the 21st century is a capitalism of uncertainty, as became evident once again last week. All it took were a few disappointing US trade figures and suddenly markets plunged worldwide, from the American bond market to crude oil trading. It seemed only fitting that the turbulence also affected the bonds of the country that has long been seen as an indicator of jitters: Greece. The financial papers called it a “flash crash.”

Running Out of Ammunition

Politicians and business leaders everywhere are now calling for new growth initiatives, but the governments’ arsenals are empty. The billions spent on economic stimulus packages following the financial crisis have created mountains of debt in most industrialized countries and they now lack funds for new spending programs.

Central banks are also running out of ammunition. They have pushed interest rates close to zero and have spent hundreds of billions to buy government bonds. Yet the vast amounts of money they are pumping into the financial sector isn’t making its way into the economy.

Be it in Japan, Europe or the United States, companies are hardly investing in new machinery or factories anymore. Instead, prices are exploding on the global stock, real estate and bond markets, a dangerous boom driven by cheap money, not by sustainable growth. Experts with the Bank for International Settlements have already identified “worrisome signs” of an impending crash in many areas. In addition to creating new risks, the West’s crisis policy is also exacerbating conflicts in the industrialized nations themselves. While workers’ wages are stagnating and traditional savings accounts are yielding almost nothing, the wealthier classes — those that derive most of their income by allowing their money to work for them — are profiting handsomely.

According to the latest Global Wealth Report by the Boston Consulting Group, worldwide private wealth grew by about 15 percent last year, almost twice as fast as in the 12 months previous.

The data expose a dangerous malfunction in capitalism’s engine room. Banks, mutual funds and investment firms used to ensure that citizens’ savings were transformed into technical advances, growth and new jobs. Today they organize the redistribution of social wealth from the bottom to the top. The middle class has also been negatively affected: For years, many average earners have seen their prosperity shrinking instead of growing.

Harvard economist Larry Katz rails that US society has come to resemble a deformed and unstable apartment building: The penthouse at the top is getting bigger and bigger, the lower levels are overcrowded, the middle levels are full of empty apartments and the elevator has stopped working.

‘Wider and Wider’

It’s no wonder, then, that people can no longer get much out of the system. According to polls by the Allensbach Institute, only one in five Germans believes economic conditions in Germany are “fair.” Almost 90 percent feel that the gap between rich and poor is “getting wider and wider.”

In this sense, the crisis of capitalism has turned into a crisis of democracy. Many feel that their countries are no longer being governed by parliaments and legislatures, but by bank lobbyists, which apply the logic of suicide bombers to secure their privileges: Either they are rescued or they drag the entire sector to its death.

It isn’t surprising that this situation reinforces the arguments of leftist economists like distribution critic Thomas Piketty. But even market liberals have begun using terms like the “one-percent society” and “plutocracy.” The chief commentator of the Financial Times, Martin Wolf, calls the unleashing of the capital markets a “pact with the devil.”

They aren’t alone. Even the system’s insiders are filled with doubt. There is the bank analyst in New York who has become exasperated with banks; the business owner in Switzerland who is calling for higher taxes; the conservative Washington politician who has lost faith in the conservatives; and the private banker in Frankfurt who is at odds with Europe’s supreme monetary authority.

They all convey a deep sense of unease, and some even show a touch of rebellion.

If there is a rock star among global bank analysts, it’s Mike Mayo. The wiry financial expert loves loud ties and tightly cut suits, he can do 35 pull-ups at a time, and he likes it when people call him the “CEO killer.”

The weapons Mayo takes into battle are neatly lined up in his small office on the 15th floor of a New York skyscraper: number-heavy studies about the US banking industry, some as thick as a shoebox and often so revealing that they have enraged industry giants like former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill, or Stan O’Neal in his days as the head of Merrill Lynch. Words of praise from Mayo are met with cheers on the exchanges, but when he says sell, it can send prices tumbling.

Mayo isn’t interested in a particular sector but rather the core of the Western economic system. Karl Marx called banks “the most artificial and most developed product turned out by the capitalist mode of production.” For Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, they were guarantors of progress, which he described as “creative destruction.”

But financial institutions haven’t performed this function in a long time. Before the financial crisis, they were the drivers of the untenable expansion of debt that caused the crash. Now, focused as they are on repairing the damage done, they are inhibiting the recovery. The amount of credit ought to be “six times faster than it has been,” says Mayo. “Banks now aren’t the engines of growth anymore.”Mayo’s words reflect the experience of his 25 years in the industry, a career that sometimes sounds like a plot thought up by John Grisham: the young hero faces off against a mafia-like system.

He was in his late 20s when he arrived on Wall Street, a place he saw as symbolic of both the economic and the moral superiority of capitalism. “I always had this impression,” says Mayo, “that the head of a bank would be the most ethical person and upstanding citizen possible.”

A New Party for Australia

Disillusioned with both Labor and Liberal. I am sure this applies to many Australian voters. I hope the “Progressives” are going to become a viable alternative.

The Australian Progressives Team

Meet the Australian Progressives team. As we annouce more team members on our Facebook page we will update our list below.

Tim Jones

Tim Jones

Party President

I am a ‘career tradesman’ who has worked as an underground fitter, on power stations, ships and factories around Australia.

I did my degree in psychology and linguistics in the 90s and worked as a nurse for a few years after.

I have two grown sons and a grandson who deserve a country which celebrates them and the future they will share.

As a co-founder of ‘March in March’ I wanted to fight for that future and co-founding The Australian Progressives is my natural next step.

Progress is what we do with hope. Without hope we are lost.

Fariza Fatima

Fariza Fatima

I am a student of Law and Media at Macquarie University. I am currently a project officer at a grass roots community organization. I believe in working towards justice by empowering people – in pursuit of this I have dabbled in volunteering at five different non-government organizations and 3 university societies.

I am a founder and deputy editor of Youthink a Youth magazine. I live by two maxims “You must be the change you wish to see” and “let yourself be silently drawn by what you really love”.

I’m part of the Australian Progressives because we are part of a global system, with global economies – global measures of efficiency. I believe that this process needs global empathy. The current discourse allows great debate but on a very narrow spectrum – this stagnation needs to be resolved. We need new policies and structures in light of our globalized world. We need compassionate policies that connect us to other people. We need Change.

Brenden Prazner

Brenden Prazner

I’m a self-confessed geek at heart. I embrace technology, what it can do and how it can make life better (and more fun!).

I’ve worked for the past 17 years in the decorated apparel industry (11 of which in software development), and have enjoyed a variety of technical and commercial roles in a range of businesses from small owner-operators to large national leading apparel suppliers.

I’m a father of two and hope for a future where our nation is governed by logic and reason, and policies created around facts and not fiction.

I’ve joined the Australian Progressives because I believe in a nation that embraces positive change, and realises the possibilities that an informed and science-literate nation can deliver.

Emma Watt

Emma Watt

I am studying Law and International Relations at UNSW. I’m passionate about social justice, and politics, and in the past two years I have been the community director of the UNSW United Nations Society and the Co-Deputy Convenor for the Amnesty International Australia NSW Student’s Conference.

I’m in the Australian Progressives because I don’t want to wait to be a ‘leader of tomorrow’. It’s time to act now – raw and uninhibited.

I am deeply passionate about youth voices and I want to see more youth participating in and contributing to the political agenda.

Candy Lawrence

Candy Lawrence

Facebook administrator

I am a retired educator with nearly 30 years’ experience teaching and caring for children from birth to 18 years. My passion for teaching is based on respect for children’s individuality, competence and potential. I have expertise and experience in gifted education and hope to see a day when ‘tall poppy syndrome’ is recognised as an impediment to our progress as a nation.

As a writer in my spare time, I strive to improve children’s welfare through my blog ‘Aunt Annie’s Childcare’ which has a world-wide following. I have also been active locally in the fight against unconventional gas mining on the Far North Coast as an advocate for children’s rights.

I joined the Australian Progressives because they have given me hope. The lack of personal respect exhibited by our current politicians in question time dismays me. The lack of human decency, particularly with respect to children’s welfare and rights, disgusts me. The destruction of our planet due to human greed frightens me. As a member of the Australian Progressives I will fight to build a society where our politicians behave with dignity and a high standard of ethics, and where our children inherit a living planet.

Whitlam played by the Rules . . . .

Whitlam: a loyal servant of a system which failed him

Posted Mon at 3:08pmMon 27 Oct 2014, 3:08pm

Gough Whitlam played by the rules and was smashed – leaving his office to his enemies, but with his consistency, conviction and integrity untarnished, writes Mungo MacCallum.

As numerous eye-glazing speeches could attest, Gough Whitlam had a great love for the constitution and the Parliament. Like his friend and sparring partner James Killen, Whitlam had a respect bordering on reverence for the forms and practices of the Australian version of Westminster.

This did not mean that he believed them to be unchangeable, set in stone; indeed, much of his working life was spent in trying to modify and reform them when he felt it necessary.

But he always did so within the accepted boundaries: Whitlam, while he could be a radical when it came to policy, was always a gradualist – a Fabian – when it came to process. He believed in referendum, not revolution. He assiduously followed the rules, both in the letter and the spirit.

But his opponents were not so scrupulous, and that was what ultimately destroyed him and his government. From the moment the Labor administration was elected, the conservatives determined to do whatever it would take to bring it down. After 23 years, they regarded their rejection as an affront, an aberration; the natural law – their law – must be restored.

And any excuse would do; if Whitlam employed tactics and strategy to achieve his aims, the coalition leaders cried foul and went feral. Thus in 1974, Whitlam and his colleagues devised a scheme to take control of the Senate by persuading a sitting DLP senator, Vince Gair, to resign and take up a diplomatic post.

This was certainly unusual, even sneaky, but it was entirely legitimate. However, the then Liberal leader Billy Snedden took the unprecedented step of forcing an election by using his Senate numbers to block the budget. Of course, budget measures were and are regularly postponed and rejected, as the current administration knows all too well. But this was not a routine measure: the coalition withheld what is known as the supply bills, the money appropriated for the day-to-day working of government especially in paying the public service.

This was seen an outrageous breach of convention, never before seriously contemplated, let alone implemented. In 1967, the Labor Senate leader Lionel Murphy had mooted the idea to Whitlam, who summarily dismissed it as unthinkable. But the coalition took the plunge not once but twice: in 1975 Malcolm Fraser devised an encore.

He was only able to do so by another egregious breach. When the Queensland Labor senator Bert Millner died in office, testate premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen replaced him not with another Labor nominee, but with an opponent, the risible Patrick Albert Field. Once again, this had not happened since Federation; replacements within the same party had always been automatic, and indeed have now become so by law.

But Field, with instructions to oppose Labor without question or hesitation, gave Fraser the numbers he needed. His trigger was the sacking of a senior minister, Rex Connor, over what was known as the Loans Affair. This had entailed an attempt to build massive infrastructure by securing petro dollar funds from the Arabs through unconventional sources.

Once again, this was unusual, and in the end reckless, even foolhardy; but in spite of what was later alleged, it was in no sense illegitimate. The relevant decisions, albeit in secret, were signed through the Executive Council of Cabinet. But the whole thing went wrong, and eventually Whitlam removed the commission of Connor, as Minister for Minerals and Energy, to end negotiations.

However, Connor persisted, still searching for the fairy tale millions. The Australian’s foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, in a series of graceless articles immediately after Whitlam’s death, suggested that Whitlam had in fact given Connor a wink: if the money could still be secured, all would be forgiven. At the time Sheridan was fomenting DLD conspiracies in student politics. I was on the spot in Canberra and from my first-hand knowledge can testify that this was not true: when Whitlam found out he was incandescent.

But in any case, Sheridan’s fantasy misses the point: Connor was dismissed, not for pursuing the loan, but for misleading Parliament – the same crime that had undone the hapless Jim Cairns. For Whitlam, this was the unforgiveable sin: he knew sacking Connor would bring dire political consequences, but he felt he had no choice: Parliament was supreme. To a normal observer Whitlam deserved praise for his adherence to principle, but for Fraser it was what he called an extraordinary and reprehensible circumstance, and pulled the trigger: which brings us to the governor-general, Sir John Kerr.

Whitlam was confident that Kerr would remain on side not because he was weak (which he was, as Fraser has since confirmed) but because he was bound to follow the advice of his ministers. This, after all, was the convention observed by the British monarch – Kerr’s superior — for centuries. But Kerr had already broken ranks: he had taken counsel and encouragement from the Chief Justice and former Liberal attorney-general Garfield Barwick, who was also the cousin of Fraser’s own shadow attorney, Robert Ellicott.

So Fraser was prepared: Fraser was lurking when Whitlam saw Kerr to tender his advice to call a half-Senate election, and when Kerr refused and Whitlam indignantly knocked back Kerr’s demand for an election for the House of Representatives, Kerr dismissed him. Whitlam’s immediate (and conventional) response was that he would go to the Queen: Kerr replied that he had already terminated his commission and produced the document. Rather than throw it in his face, as his feisty wife Margaret later suggested, he meekly concurred: to the last he followed the rules.

Kerr did not: when later the Speaker of the House, Gordon Scholes, went to inform him that the Parliament had voted confidence in Whitlam, Kerr refused to see him, an act of authoritarianism not seen since the days of King Charles I. This was indeed, as Whitlam called it, a coup, a putsch. But maintaining his loyalty to the system that had failed him, he stood stony faced as the viceroy’s aide-de-camp shut down Parliament and set him up for an election he knew he was doomed to lose: if Kerr, the Governor-General he had appointed, had dismissed him, the voters would believe he had done something unforgivable. They didn’t know what it was, but that didn’t matter. It was all over.

So Whitlam played by the rules and was smashed – leaving his office to his enemies, but with his consistency, conviction and integrity untarnished. They don’t make them like that any more.

Mungo Wentworth MacCallum is a political journalist and commentator. View his full profile here.

Topics: federal-government