Tag Archives: corruption

People’s Embassy Blog 4

Tuesday there were crowds (up to 1000) in front of Parliament House attending rallies for Stop Adani and medical evacuations of refugees from their island gulags (though you wouldn’t know it from the mainstream media).

There was some interest in the People’s Embassy and its message ‘Drive the money changers from the temple of democracy’, though the numbers were not large. Mostly a passing ‘good on you’.

A highlight was emphatic support for the message from Greens leader Richard DiNatale, who was cruising the crowd.

 

 

 

 

 

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People’s Embassy Blog 2

Come Monday 11th next this sign will be outside new Parliament House, as we set up the People’s Embassy to Parliament. People count for so little inside the big house, because Big Money has taken over, that we need an embassy.

But it’s only an interim arrangement, until we drive the money changers from the temple of democracy and take it back for people.

Join us, spread the word, support us, start your own branch, have politicians and wannabe politicians sign the pledges, if they dare.

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A People’s Embassy (blog post)

Next week, as Parliament resumes, I will mount a protest against corruption of the Parliament, namely a People’s Embassy – to our Parliament. See the explanation on the dedicated page A People’s Embassy.

Corruption of our democratic system is flagrant, but hardly commented upon. Politicians accept money from the rich and do favours for the rich, against the known wishes of the people. It may be all nudge-wink, but it is plainly there and plainly subverting our society.
Several pledges will be available for politicians and candidates to sign up to. The most important are the Sunshine Pledges, to reveal contacts and financial support in real time, and to limit donations to individuals and small amounts.

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The Political Instability is Due to a Pathological Regime

[Didn’t get any takers for this commentary, then it got stale. There may be more opportunities before too long.]

SnakeOilIt’s not the salespeople, it’s the product. The product does not serve the people and the people know it, so they keep rejecting the salesperson.

You might think, after a parade of six short-term Prime Ministers, and counting, that this diagnosis of Australia’s political instability might be more commonly perceived, but much of the attention remains on more superficial factors like personality, technology, social media and so on. Even when the political product is questioned few seem to appreciate the depth of its inadequacy.

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A Fabricated Government

[Published 7 Feb at Pearls and Irritations, though with the irritation that ‘lies’ was replaced by ‘untruths’.]

Australian politics is a culture of lies. Australia’s governments are facades erected to obscure the nefarious activities of those who really wield power.

So the pathetic little Turnbull Cabinet is upset because some of its secrets are outed through incompetence. The filing cabinet papers so far reveal some hypocrisy and lies of Government Ministers past and present.

If you want to see some rather more consequential challenges to government secrecy go and see the movie The Post, which is about how in 1971 Daniel Ellsberg and the Washington Post revealed the history of US interference in Vietnam through the 1950s and 60s. The so-called Pentagon Papers revealed that successive US administrations had systematically lied to Congress and the public about their activities and goals in Vietnam.

For decades the US knew it could not win. It continued mainly to try to save face. In the end it suffered the humiliating defeat it feared. Tens of thousands of US young men, hundreds of Australians and many more Vietnamese died for that vain folly.

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ALP: Blocking Democracy and a Tolerable Future

Arthur Calwell

Arthur Calwell

[Published at Independent Australia, 2 Dec]

Progressive reformers are attempting to take control of the major parties of the nominal left in the United States and the United Kingdom, in the wake of losses in national elections and the rise of reactionary forces. Even if the rebels do not take full control there is some prospect that the parties will at least be substantially changed.

No such fate threatens the Australian Labor Party. There is no flicker of unorthodoxy from within. There is little prospect of the plebian hordes storming it from without. The ALP stands, inert and impregnable, occupying the political space where a progressive party ought to be, the greatest obstacle in Australia to the constructive reform we  desperately need if we are to have a tolerable future.

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To Parliament With Love (draft)

A down-to-earth guide to a decent and enduring Australia

I have drafted a new book. I would be happy to get feedback. If you would like a copy, email me at geoffd – at – netspeed.com.au . It is available in pdf or epub formats.

You can download an extract (pdf 200 kb)

More information follows, and additional material can be seen at the new book page.

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Australia needs a new progressive party

[This article is posted at Independent Australia today.]

The Australian Labor Party needs major reform, even leader Bill Shorten thinks so.  But what constitutes “major” reform depends on who’s talking.  To Shorten it reportedly means you don’t have to be a union member to join Labor, and perhaps unions and factions will have a little less say in preselections.

A few weeks ago I suggested Labor ought to disavow the market-fundamentalist neoliberalism that has dominated Labor and most of the world for the past three decades, because neoliberalism has been the major cause of rising economic and political inequality, and it directly caused the Great Recession that still grips much of the world.  Not only does neoliberalism undermine Labor’s founding purpose, to stand up for ordinary people, but it is a baseless and discredited ideology, as I have explained in my book Sack the Economists, and it has brought the return of plutocracy and the new gilded age, as exhaustively documented by French economist Thomas Piketty.

Although I advocated reform of the ALP, I hold little hope it will happen.  Even where they are not overtly corrupt, Labor and too many unions are dominated by careerists whose only goal seems to be to acquire power for power’s sake.  Shorten’s incremental changes will not break the power of these people.  Indeed there seem to be few left in Labor who have not accommodated to the betrayal of Labor’s purpose.  (I hasten to add I am a supporter of unions in principle, but too many of them have also become ossified.)

Left to its own devices, the ALP is unlikely to fundamentally reform itself.  It would take someone at least of the stature of Gough Whitlam, and no such reformer is in evidence.  Therefore a different strategy is required.

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