Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Anne Summers in conversation with Tim Flannery. Picking up what the Abbott Govt tossed aside?

AnneSummers Conversations presents
Please join me for the second of my Conversations with prominent individuals (the first was with former Prime Minister Julia Gillard last year).
This conversation is with one of Australia’s most original thinkers, Dr Tim Flannery. Best known for his ability to explain science and, especially, climate change in everyday language, Tim’s impressive résumé also includes writing (and talking) about history, geology and—his first love—mammals. His hugely bestselling book The Weather Makerschanged the conversation about climate change in Australia.
One of the first acts of the newly elected Abbott government last September was to axe the Climate Commission, the body appointed by the Gillard government to provide objective information about climate change, and sack Tim Flannery, its chief commissioner. Tim responded by appealing to the public to support a new body, the Climate Council. In just one week, 15,000 people signed on as founding friends and donated $1.3 million, in what is the largest and most successful crowd-sourced fundraiser in Australian history.
In his first major public appearance since the Commission was abolished, Tim will engage with me in a wide-ranging and frank conversation about the climate and other pressing issues. We will cover a lot of ground, including the recent unprecedented heatwaves in southern Australia and his views on whether it is too late to save our planet. Tim will then answer questions from the audience.
Do come along for what is bound to be an enthralling and informative evening with Tim Flannery.

Editor and publisher, Anne Summers Reports

MELBOURNE Melbourne Town Hall
Monday, February 17, 2014, 6.30-8pm

SYDNEY City Recital Hall, Angel Place
Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 6.30-8pm

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Our Rivers, Our Lifeblood campaign launch - 2pm Sunday 16 February @ The Green House, Birrarung Marr

Our Rivers, Our Lifeblood campaign launch

When: 2:00 pm Sunday 16 February
Where: The Green House, Birrarung Marr as part of the Sustainable Living Festival

Please join us and special guest speaker Tammy van Wisse for the launch our new campaign Our Rivers, Our Lifeblood and the unveiling of our innovative interactive web atlas that comprehensively looks at the condition of our rivers, the threats and solutions.  It's all part of the Sustainable Living Festival. We hope to see you there!

Victorian Water Act review in progress

The Napthine government is currently reviewing the Victorian Water Act and an Exposure Draft of the new legislation is out for public consultation. Although water law may seem far removed from environmental protection, the Water Act is actually a really important piece of environmental legislation and Environment Victoria is taking a good look at the proposed changes. While the suggested revisions make some useful changes to allow the government to implement its new strategy for Melbourne’s water supply and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, we are not convinced that it offers any improvement in protection for environmental water.

To find out what the review is all about, you can attend a public forum being held by the Office of Living Victoria. These are occurring at selected locations around the state over the next couple of weeks. All the details about the forums are here – you need to RSVP to the Office of Living Victoria.

If you go to a forum be sure to ask some questions about how the health of your river will be improved by the new Act, and what the proposals will do to provide greater environmental protection. Please put your hand up so that your concerns are registered.

You can also make a submission – again the details are here. If you need some help with what to say, pleaseget in touch with Juliet and I can send you some suggestions. Submissions close on Friday 14 February.

Environmental watering in progress!

This week Melbourne Water is releasing environmental water into the Yarra and Tarago Rivers to improve water quality after the recent heatwave. And the Commonwealth and Victorian Environmental Water Holdersare watering the Goulburn , Loddon, Murray and other rivers round the state. While there’s still a long way to go until our rivers get all the water they need, it’s exciting to see environmental watering in progress. You can check out the success of watering events in 2012/13 here

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The move for the 5th World Conference for Women. The only continent which has not had a WCW is Australia - what about it, United Nations?!

For those of you who don't know, some women across the world have - for the last couple of years - been lobbying for a 5th World Conference for Women. These Conferences are for Governments who are members of the United Nations.  Running alongside them are Women's Forums.  Anyone can go to these.   I have been to two of these Forums which, with the conferences, are organised by The Commission on the Status of Women, with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) serving as the Conference secretariat.

 The first Forum I went to was in 1985 in Nairobi, Kenya.  I was one of twenty women funded by the Australian Government.  I was put forward by Quentin Bryce now - for a little while longer - Australia's Governor-General.  I owe a lot to Quentin. In 1995, I decided to go again.  There was no government funding for women as there had been ten years before.

By 1995, I was living in Tennant Creek in the NT.  Because I decided to go, my friend Sharon Kinraid decided she would come too.  By the end of January 1995, we had held a meeting of local women in the office of Maggie Hickey, the then Member for Barkly and started an organisation under the title of The Women of the Barkly. The adventure had started.  We embarked on fundraising.  The Australian Government was funding one Aboriginal woman and we encouraged our friend Joyce Napurrula Schroeder to apply.  Her application was successful, so Joyce was on her way too. As was, our good friend Pene Curtis.

Fundraising continued for some months.  The WoB, in the end, subsidised (but not fully paid for) the fares of three women. Because WoB was so active, a number of other women came from the local CWA and ATSIC.  If attendance was measured as per capita representation of a community, Tennant Creek probably sent more women per head of population than anywhere else in Australia!

 And we went in style.  We did a workshop in Beijing.  We booked what turned out to be a schoolroom of the old fashioned kind.  With hindsight, we really needed two or three times that space!  We had to shut the doors to the schoolroom because we were already plastering people to the walls!

We had received a grant of $20,000 from the Australia Council.  With this money, our friend Gerardine Sullivan produced a wonderful video of professional quality on the life and art of the Women of the Barkly - with Maggie doing the narration.  We employed two TC women to produce a photographic exhibition on a similar theme.  With the $200 left over from all this, we had sufficient to pay for brochures describing it all.  And on the day of our workshop, it was the day for our Minister for Women's Affairs to come to the Forum --- and Carmen Lawrence came to our workshop.  How wonderful that was!  When you are far away from home in a strange land ... and your Women's Minister walks into the room to your workshop!

All along the way we had included the Tennant Creek community in our doings.  While in Beijing, there were news items which gave concern to people and of which we knew nothing.  When we got home we were pulled up in the supermarket by concerned people.  Are you all right ~~  we heard that...  There is nothing quite like the feeling when you are supported by your community and find a place in their concerns.  But that's Tennant Creek for you.

I hope, if you have read this far, that you too would love to go to such an event.  If so, I hope you will go over here and join this this group >>> https://www.facebook.com/groups/5thWCW/.

 I am a fan of Jean Shinoda Bolen and heard of this movement through her work. To me, the response to this great idea seems sluggish. If you go to http://www.unwomen.org/en/how-we-work/intergovernmental-support/world-conferences-on-women you will find out more about the previous four conferences.

I want Australian women to stand up and be counted on the move for the 5th World Conference.  You see, there are five continents (if you count North and South America as one).  Women's Conferences have been held only on four.  The missing continent is Australia - and I think we ought to get together to push for a fifth UN world conference for women - but it must be held in Oceania.  It should be in Australia, but if not then it should be held somewhere in the South Pacfic.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Hooray! Australia is now on a par with Saudi Arabia for forced returns of migrants. C'mon let's celebrate!

At left: An Ethiopian worker argues with a member of the Saudi security forces as he waits with his countrymen to be repatriated in Manfouha, southern Riyadh (Reuters).  Picture from International Business Times

I wonder if Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison are offering themselves a toast of some bubbly stuff.  They have something to celebrate.  They have placed Australia - with their tow backs and life-boat forced aboards - on a par with that great bastion of human rights, Saudi Arabia.

The material below comes from the Editor's Note in the January 17, 2014 Newsletter of the Migration Policy Institute - Migration Information Source.  

Editor's Note

Saudia Arabia's campaign to remove irregular migrants, which has resulted in nearly 1 million people leaving the country since last year, continues. More than 2,000 Somali migrants were repatriated to Mogadishu earlier this week.

Ethiopia, Yemen, and Somalia are among the countries struggling to absorb the returnees. The International Organization for Migration, which has been providing emergency medical assistance, food, and reintegration allowances to some of the irregular migrants, estimated earlier this month that more than 151,000 Ethiopians have been returned from Saudi Arabia. Yemeni officials estimate 300,000 to 400,000 Yemenis were expelled from Saudi Arabia last year, with thousands dropped off in a single day at a crossing along the countries' shared border. Saudi Arabia also has removed large numbers of migrant workers from Egypt, India, Sudan, and other countries.

The returns are imposing a double strain on the economies of the migrants' countries of origin. In addition to facing the return of these workers and the need to integrate them into labor markets, the countries now must do without the remittances that they sent home. Saudi Arabia is the world's third-largest source of remittances, behind the United States and Russian Federation, with official outflows estimated at $29.4 billion in 2012. By some estimates, the crackdown could result in a one-quarter reduction in remittances from Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi campaign, which has drawn reports of abuses against migrants and also resulted in a violent clash, is part of a broader effort to create new job openings for Saudi nationals and to remake the country's labor market; it is also viewed as an effort to stave off the unrest that has hit elsewhere in the Middle East. The country's population of 29.2 million included about 9 million non-Saudis in 2012.

The crackdown came on the heels of a 2013 amnesty during which 4 million workers rectified visa infringements and obtained work permits, and nearly 1 million Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Indians, Nepalis, Pakistanis, and others left the country. (The Indian government estimates more than 141,000 of its nationals took advantage of the Saudi amnesty.) When the amnesty, declared in March 2013, ended that November, the removals campaign began with workplace raids and other enforcement operations.

While the Saudi government reports the campaign has created greater employment opportunities for Saudi nationals, providing jobs to date for more than 254,000 Saudis, there are suggestions that the economic impact on certain sectors in the kingdom may not be entirely positive, at least in the near term.

The Migration Information Source team

Friday, 17 January 2014

Can the art of social media be turned into a science - taking money from your pocket and putting it into mine?

Does conversation about consumerism, the desire for the latest, the biggest, the best leave you cold?  You don't feel that anyone is targetting you.  And even if they are targetting you, you think that you are sufficiently intelligent to withstand their predations.

From The Green Market Oracle
Just in case this brief description is you, I thought you might like to read how it is done. How you are targetted.  Now, I love social media.  I approve of legitimate not-for-profits who do a heap of good by targetting people, including me, to enable their work. But let's not kid ourselves.  This particularly genie-in-the-bottle is out and is being used by all and sundry. Many, many people are trying to turn the art of social media into a science in the hope that this will reveal a treasure map with a guaranteed result - your money into their pocket!

If you haven't already noticed, what all of them try to do - even the Big Names - is that when you go on to a new social media they ask you to let them send an email to all your contact list. An absent-minded tick in that little box can drag you into something which many of your friends will find alienating!

So read carefully .... and, above all, THINK!
Social Media Community Relations
02:56 (9 hours ago)
to me

LinkedIn Groups

  • Group: Social Media Community Relations
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Posted By Tyler Crosso

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Modern ministers for health in the Liberal Party are no friends of families or of Medicare.

Couldn't be at yesterday's
Get a cuppa, sit back, put your feet up ...
and Miss Eagle will make you feel as if you were there.
on the rally and the issue.

Then there is this YouTube item

The march went from the State Library
to the premises of the Business Council of Australia.
The Abbott Government's Commission of Audit
have involvement from members of the BCA. 

The research - which is recommending co-payments
for GP visits now fully funded by Medicare - 
has been done by Terry Barnes, an adviser to Tony Abbott,
when he was Health Minister in the Howard Government.
The research was commissioned and funded by the 

When you visit the last link,
click on the 'About Us' tab on the silver ribbon at the top.
Then go to the side-bar and click on 'Board of Directors'.
Please note who these directors are.
Not one of them could remotely be considered as
a consumer advocate or representative.
ACHR has tried to make itself look as if it is
broad-based or non-political
with the inclusion of 'Labor man' Neil Batt. 
A look at Batt's background should make clear
that he is hardly and working-class man.
An this is certainly the case for the others.
You also might note that the name
Australian Unity has more than a mention.
Australian Unity is a major health insurance fund.
Their self-interest is self-evident.
Should, dear reader, you have health insurance
with Australian Unity you must think upon the 
fact that in giving AU your business, you
are contributing to the downfall of Medicare.

So let's look at the pedigree of this proposal.
There is a Commission of Audit established by Tony Abbott.
It is comprised of members of the Business Council of Australia
(who, it can be assumed, either have the top rank of health insurance
or can afford to pay for their own health services)
and, almost certainly, each are paid up members of the Liberal Party of Australia.
If for some sort of reason, such as a career which requires them to parade
as impartial, I feel confident in guessing that
 they frequent Liberal Party events and people.

The research has been done by a former Liberal Party policy adviser,
Abbott was not the first Liberal Health Minister that Terry Barnes served.
He also worked for Michael Wooldridge.
I don't want to query Barnes's ethics but many have questioned those
Added to the Wikipedia entry, you can read about the MRI scandal
here, here, and here.
All this sort of muck did eventually mean that Wooldridge 
wore out his welcome.
One is left to wonder where Barnes was in all this?
Did he prove to be a gun for hire way back then,
as he clearly is now?

So the background for the Medicare co-payment is indeed circular.
It is an expose, as well, of how some people build their careers
and establish their finances.

It is well to always take heed of Adam Smith.
As he said in his seminal work -
People of the same trade seldom meet together, 
even for merriment and diversion, 
but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, 
or in some contrivance to raise prices.
I would also add 
"or in some way to influence and collude with government".

From Wooldridge to Abbott to Dutton
there is no reason to feel comforted
that Liberal Party Ministers of Health
will act in the best interests of Australian families.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The State of Rights and Resources 2013-14 : watch the live webcast : Forest Peoples Programme : Rights and Resources Initiative

The State of Rights and Resources 2013-2014  
A panel on the role of the private sector and others in strengthening community land rights 

February 5, 2014
10:00 AM GMT 
The Royal Society - Kohn Center 
6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London

RRI logo  FPP logo

 The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)  
are pleased to invite you to a panel discussion on the current state of rights and resources around the world.

Please R.S.V.P by January 31, 2014 
Or, watch the live webcast in 

Abdon Nababan - Secretary General, Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of Indonesia's Archipelago (AMAN)
Duncan Pollard - Associate Vice President, Stakeholders Engagement in Sustainability, Nestlé S.A.
Jenny Springer - Director, Global Programs, Rights and Resources Initiative
Megan MacInnes - Campaign Leader for Land, Global Witness 
Raul Silva Telles do Vale - Policy and Rights Program Coordinator, Instituto Socioambiental (ISA)

Moderated by

 Fred Pearce - Journalist and author of The Land Grabbers: The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth  

Opening Remarks
Joji Cariño - Executive Director, Forest Peoples Programme
  Andy White - Coordinator, Rights and Resources Initiative

There was much good rhetoric and many encouraging pronouncements on community land rights in 2013 -- from courts, governments, and some of the world's largest corporations. But there was much less evidence of action on the ground. In fact, new research to be launched at this event reveals a global slowdown in the recognition of community rights in tropical forested countries. Despite some high-profile enactments, less new legislation has been passed since 2008 than in the preceding six years, and the laws that have emerged are weaker than before. One possibility for more progress is the private sector, which had much more to say on land rights in 2013 than ever before. Through its global reach and economic importance, an enlightened private sector can shift the balance decisively away from a corporate land rush and towards community and indigenous land rights. Our panel will put into context the growing evidence of potential for transformative change in 2014, and ask how  commitments from the private sector and others can be put into practice. 

Click here for more information. To attend the event in London, please contact Madiha Qureshi.

Rights and Resources Initiative | 1238 Wisconsin Ave. NW | Suite 300 | Washington, D.C. | USA 

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Australians are unable to learn from history - and therefore continue to repeat it to the nation's detriment

Vietnamese boat people

What a nation we have become if this poll truly reflects the people of Australia! It also proves that we do not learn from our history and are condemned to repeat it - and that, in itself, is a form of hell. Arguably, the classic tale of boat people is told in the story of the Dunera boys - German Jews escaping from Germany to Britain to escape the Holocaust. Britain turned up their nose at them treating them as suspects and possible Nazi spies! They shipped them off to Australia and we, too, turned our nose up at them and put them in an interment camps - what would now be called a detention centre. The story is a marvellous one and was turned in to a mini-series which can be seen on YouTube.

From this group of harshly treated men, came some very distinguished Australians who have done great service to this country. The one that always spring to my mind is Fred Gruen who went from being a despised refugee to a Dunera Boy and on to become one of Australia's great economists and public servants. Similarly, his son - Nicholas Gruen - serves us to-day. Similarly, the Vietnamese boat arrivals have settled well into this country and some significant contributions have been made. I believe that in the decades to come we will still be telling these sorts of stories. The adage seems to be true - those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it!!! 

Further reading:
From Wikipedia
Among the transportees on the Dunera were Franz Stampfl, later the athletics coach to the four-minute-mile runner Roger BannisterWolf Klaphake, the inventor of synthetic camphor, the tenor Erich Liffmann, composer Ray Martin (orchestra leader),[4] artists Heinz HenghesLudwig Hirschfeld Mack and Erwin Fabian, art historians Franz Phillipp and Ernst Kitzinger, artist Johannes Koelz, the photographers Henry Talbot and Hans Axel, and furniture designers Fred Lowen and Ernst Roedeck. Also on board were theoretical physicist Hans Buchdahl and his engineer (later philosopher) brother Gerd; Alexander Gordon (Abrascha Gorbulski) who appeared in the documentary Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport and Walter Freud grandson of Sigmund Freud.[5]


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Cory Bernardi's hate speech and Warren Entsch's reply - The Liberal Party might well be a broad church but can it contain Bernardi?

Following this marvellous response to Senator Cory Bernardi by Warren Entsch MLA, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and have written to both men this morning.  My emails to them are below.
Dear Senator Bernardi, you might consider what you are doing leadership - but leadership of what, for whom, and to where.  I particularly find objectionable your statements about single parent families.  My mother-in-law was widowed twice by the time she was 38 and left with two children from each marriage.  So she struck out twice in your book - single parent, and a step-parent family.  My husband grew up in dire poverty.  This was before there were government payments either for widows or single parents.  The family lived in dire poverty.  The children did not grow up to be criminals. They were/are a very close knit family.  So where are you going with all this bigotry, hatred, and exclusion?  Have you lived too narrow an existence?  Is this the only way you can get your name iinto the MSM and draw attention to yourself?  Do you have your eye on an international stage and attracting the attention of Fox News in the USA?   I am a Christian - and this sort of behaviour was never exhibited by Him who I follow.   Your statements seem to fit more with the man who built gas ovens for those he despised - so what coloured star are you suggesting for single parent families and step-parents?  Are you going to lock up the kids just in case?  Many people in this wealthy nation grow up in deprivation, poverty and exclusion.  Many of them are Aboriginal people living out of sight and out of mind in communities where we won't even provide them the same local government services as suburban Australians take for granted.  Your government is cutting services to people.  It is favouring the rich against the poor - and you stand there sanctimoniously with exclusionist clap-trap.  What do you expect the end result of all this to be?  A blissfully happy and content society - or a society in which there are massive social controls.  I thought the latter was contrary to the political philosophy of the Liberal Party of Australia. So what are you doing  about resigning your membership?   I wonder if you can answer my questions specifically - not form letter claptrap but specifically, genuinely, and personally.


Well, Warren Entsch, aren't you one of the wonders of the modern world.  Thank you for speaking out and getting stuck into Cory Bernardi.  It would be all very well if Senator Bernardi was a constituency of one or may be two if including his spouse.  However, there is something very nasty abroad in the political discourse of this nation at this time.  It seemed to me to begin with the Julia Gillard comments of the Liberal Party, Alan Jones, and the convoy who wanted to Ditch the Witch and has gone well past political sloganeering to infect the political policies and discourse of the nation.  The sort of stuff that Cory Bernardi says is now OK.  Because the Prime Minister has not altered his discourse or called out such people as Bernardi, it is now OK to be  nasty to the people one doesn't like or of whom one disapproves.  Will be see action at Cronulla once again?  Your statement has come into the public arena in a very refreshing way. I welcome it and I hope I can see more of it - from others as well.  My view is that Australia as a nation has lost or is losing its way.  The national ethos of a fair go has all but gone - swamped by greed, consumerism, bigotry, racism, and xenophobia.  Who or what are we to become unless our national and political leadership turns those selfish and exclusionist boats around.  I hope to hear more of your refreshing public voice and I hope your voice and the voices of others like you can lead us out of the darkness now enveloping us.

Further reading:

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