Independent Australia

Each week I peruse the sites linked in Australian Blog Sites (ABSites), or any other site that is recommended to me, to locate what I consider would be the best read of the week.  This week’s best read is provided by a newcomer to ABSites, Independent Australia.  Their current blog can best be ignored – it’s about the Ashes loss – but when you trawl through their archives there is gold to be found.  I’ll introduce you to two recent posts which are indeed pure gold, and saints be praised, they are about two of our favourite people. 

Kevin Andrews: the master of disaster.  Kev has managed to keep his nose out of everybody’s way since the election but as Barry Everingham from Independent Australia points out his appointment to the front bench on Tony Abbott’s team is bewildering:

John Howard was a past-master at picking troglodytes  to supervise his draconian laws but Kevin Andrews is in a class all of his own. His disastrous implementation of Work Choices as Industrial Relations Minister under Howard was a case-study in how not to run a portfolio.

After shifting him out and handing the poisoned chalice to Joe Hockey, Howard kept Andrews on as a Minister, giving him Immigration where the thin lipped humourless extreme right-winger had the time of his life ruining the life of the hapless and, as it turned out, totally innocent Dr Muhamed Haneef.

Tony Abbott should be censured for having Kevin Andrews on his front bench. It’s a measure of Abbott’s own attitude to the boat people—turn back the boats, let them drown.

And these are the people who say they can run this country. Let’s hope we don’t get to find out while Andrews is still an MP.

Tony Abbott: a relic from the 1950s.   Tony Abbott, says author David Donovan, is an elitist, a homophobe and a misogynist and Australians must not allow him to take this country back to the 1950s.

Tony Abbott is not fit to be Australian Prime Minister and there are many reasons for this, some of which I have written about before. For example, he is untrustworthy—by his own admission, you can only believe anything he says when he reads from a carefully scripted statement. He is arrogant, ideological and prone to errors of judgement—like his decision to, and excuse for, going to a British Conservative Party Conference in preference to visiting Australian troops in Afghanistan earlier this year

But perhaps the major reason Abbott should never be allowed to be Australian Prime Minister is that he will not govern fairly for all Australians. Fundamentally, he does not believe all people are equal. He believes royalty are inherently better than “commoners”, is threatened by homosexuals and is bigoted towards women.

Abbott is a politician stuck in the 1950s—when homosexuals stayed in the closet, women stayed at home and cleaned, and people revered the royal family like deities. Australia has moved on, greatly for the better.  Allowing someone like Tony Abbott to try to put Australia back to those times is a risk to our way of life and Australia’s culture as a modern egalitarian nation. It cannot be.

The Andrews piece is really just a small statement from the author and while it doesn’t throw any punches is does ask the questions that should have been asked by the mainstream media years ago.  And I agree with the author that his appointment to the front bench is not only bewildering, but an announcement from Abbott that Andrews’ constant failings under Howard mean nothing to him at all.  In that regards it is a bit like the Australian cricket team; it’s harder to get dropped from the team than it is to gain entry.

The Abbott piece is more detailed and has links to pertinent sites to back up the author’s arguments.  Not that they need backing up!  You’ll find yourself nodding your head in agreement to this article.

You might wish to discuss those articles on this thread, or anything else that the Independent Australia site discusses.  I notice that a number of categories they have are similar to ours, such as Indigenous Australia, Media, Literature and Politics.  And all this time I thought that we were the experts.

51 comments on “Independent Australia

  1. Doesn’t giving Andrews a spot in the shadow ministry emphasise the paucity of talent in the Parliamentary Liberal Party rather than Smuggles’ desire to take us back to an era where if you were raped, you asked for it; if you were gay, you could be jailed and sometimes murdered with impunity and if you were black, you weren’t even a citizen?

    I certainly don’t think Smuggles should be allowed to run a chook raffle and agree with David Donovan’s assessment of his character (for want of a better word).

    I also agree that if he could, Smuggles would have us living in the fifties in a heartbeat. That is the world he, and his hero the Rodent are desperate to re-inhabit where men were like them and gays’, women and blacks’ choice was suck it up or else!

  2. I am flooded in, in SE QLD and my heart goes out to those in the Toowoomba area. I am also mortified at the apparent politicisation of the floods by the opposition. Never have I heard a mob of political idiots trying, via the back door of laying blame at the government when a natural disaster happens. It sickens me. While they have not pointed the finger by name their inference and tone says it all. This is not a time for political point scoring or underhanded inference via tone.

    I have also commented many times about the anger and rhetoric that has overtaken our political arena. I have wotnessed the verbal abuse direct. Now it seems that the rhetoric in the USA has erupted into killings. Anyone with half a brain knows that when emotions run high things get out of control. It is a blight on political extremists of both sides of politics to act is the aggressive manner they do. There is no excuse for the politicians behaviour and if the politician cannot foresee actions as a result of their rhetoric then they should not be in politics as they do not have the intelligence.

    I have been so very busy with all of the changes and making sure I am compliant that I have had no time to comment lately but am still here :).

  3. Very nice to see you as always Shane. I’ve been shaking my head in disbelief of the opposition’s misinformation campaign – the typical cure-all that comes from that camp, that Build More Dams will fix it.

    1. You need mountains, preferably with a long, narrow and deep area or else you lose too much water from evaporation.
    2. Floods in coastal areas are often a combination of rising rivers and tidal activity.
    3. Floods often come from a number of different sources such as creeks and tributaries, you can’t dam all of them.
    4. Dams where these are a feasible option inundate Australia’s most scarce and valuable environmental resource, our fertile flood plains.
    5. Many floods are categorised as: 1 in 100 years. This could mean 2 in successive years and none in the next 200.

  4. Min

    Oh so true. Our forefathers built next to rivers for the life saving water and understood the risks with floods. We now expect to flood proof everything and bend mother nature to breaking point at every turn. Ripping out water soaking vegetation and replacing it with conrete and bitumen and then whinge that water is flooding an area. We do not allow for enough natural phenomenon anymore due to the maximum possible return on land manipulation and development.

  5. Good morning Shane. Great to see you and I hope your health has been behaving itself.

    I first heard the dams issue when Alan Jones interviewed Barnaby Joyce, just before Xmas I think, and both were absolutely disgusted that the Labor Govt haven’t built any dams. No dams have been built since 1960 apparently, elevating the urgency in Gillard building one now. Not a mention on why Howard didn’t build any.

    If Gillard doesn’t build a dam, the economy of not only Australia but the South East Asian region will be in tatters. I couldn’t see the logic behind this, but it’s a line they were quite happy to throw to the listeners.

    Ecologists and other academics have warned of the perils of building more dams, but as you and I know, the opposition are being a bit ridiculous at the moment.

  6. Very true Shane. This is why our sensible forefathers built their houses on stilts. Today we build houses suited to temperate regions and then scream blue murder when our houses on concrete slabs get flooded.

  7. Umm, because of the flash floods I saw a Queensland house on stilts floating down the river on TV this morning.

    Sometimes even tall house stilts are not enough and if the torrent is powerful enough they can be a danger not a help.

  8. True enough Mobius. I was thinking of the general flooding which regularly occurs in the Northern Rivers and Qld rather than the devastation that is currently occurring which is a natural disaster.

  9. Hi Miglo and thanks for the welcome back. Health has been up and down, but OK at the moment.

    So true, why didn’t Howard build dams, or Fraser or McMahon or Hawke or Keating or Whitlam.

    It has not suddenly become a Julia Gillard issue. We apparently had the best years of our economy under Howard so why no dams. They are a political hot potato and the last 2 dams proposed to be built were opposed by the LNP.

    Everyone wants a dam but not in their neck of the woods. The conservatives are just as much to blame if not more as they have been in power morew often since 1960 than the Labor Party.

    Torrents of rain become more powerful as we continue to cement and bitumen the earth. I am not anti development, just a realist from observation and common sense.

  10. I have a school mate in Toowoomba and have left messages and texts but at this stage no response. He is a security guard so I hope he was not caught up in the CBD. Keeping my hopes up that he is safe and will respond soon.

  11. I bet if Abbott sticks to his build more dams theme you won’t see a cost benefit analysis on his policy

  12. I am at Mooloolah Valley on the Susnhine Coast. 75ml ( 3 inches) over night to 6.45am. Currently 132ml (5.28 inches) last 5 hours and still pouring. Ground saturated from weeks of rain. Stats from my house

    Rainfall 2010 total 2,818ml or 112.75 inches

    January 2010 total 216ml or 8.64 inches in 31 days

    January 2011 current to 11.50am for 11 days 572ml or 22 inches ( includes 2 days with no rain)

    Radar shows much more to come.

  13. Shane, I wondering if this is a sign of climate change or just one of those events that happens once a lifetime. What’s the talk around Brisbane?

  14. Miglo

    LOL don’t know what the talk is aorund Brissy as I have been flooded in since Sunday. The most talk before, has been that these rains are what used to happen years ago and they have not really happened since the 90s.

    SEQ over the last 20 years seemed to forget that they are still a part of what is really the tropics and monsoonal rains do happen in the area.

    Problem is housing development has been rampant since the 90s and over swampland and floodprone areas, due to immense pressure from developers on councils.

  15. I guess you’re right, what we are seeing is probably typical tropical weather.

    Over 30 years ago I went to the Gold Coast over Xmas and the locals asked why on earth I’d want to visit the place in the wet season. As a southerner I found that amusing . . . until it rained.

    As an aside, my Dad spent 500 plus days in New Guinea during the war and he could have swore it rained for every damn one of them.

  16. Shane @ 1.36pm you are spot on, on both counts. This is the same as the ’73 floods. “The year 1973 was one of the wettest known over much of Australia, and in keeping with the strong La Niña event that prevailed..”. And we now also have a La Nina event.

    And agreed, instead of Councils insisting on developers utilizing the environment correctly which can be easily done, for example by using existing wetlands as part as a flood mitigation program.

    Instead as you say, let’s throw as many houses as possible on top of the swamps which stops the rain from being absorbed naturally into the soil and changes the natural water flow.

    One day people will start suing Councils for allowing developments to go ahead on flood prone areas. Difficult I realize for Councils to stand in the way of a developer and a $. Note: sarcasm

  17. Min

    Well said, the only thing is that usually when councils say no developers and huge corporations then go to higher and higher courts to get the outcome they want.

    While councils can be bad at times, they also find their own hands being tied by courts that have no idea of local problems, but rather a decision is made based on a court of law, instead of local requirements, requests or reality.

  18. While councils can be bad at times, they also find their own hands being tied by courts that have no idea of local problems, but rather a decision is made based on a court of law, instead of local requirements, requests or reality.

    Same everywhere, by the sounds of it. There is a bush kitchen near the western end of Kangaroo Island, which sits in a piece of heaven. To mitigate the risk of fire, local law requires that x amount of metres around the building has to be cleared of vegitation.

    Enter some American and Japanese developers.

    They offer to buy the place and build a bush resort, but decided that the resort would have more appeal if there was no clearing around the building. Naturally, the council knocked it back.

    Somehow the State Government involved itself and put pressure on the local council. To the council, the protection of the fauna and flora was more valuable than some dollars being thrown at them. The last I heard, the council managed to stall the development for five years despite the pressure coming from big money and the State.

  19. Migs, you are very right there. Whether or not developments go ahead is often dependent upon the will of the State governments. Very fortunately when I was on Lilydale Council we had a Labor state government who supported Council’s Planning Scheme. As a result we were able to protect many environmentally sensitive areas in the Dandenong Ranges foothills. As soon as the Libs got in it was open slather.

  20. Miglo

    Am in the same boat as everyone else as I am house bound and we are requested not to use mobiles so am not talking to anyone other than here and GT.

    I can tell you more rain is on the way. Each time we have a break I hope it is going to end only to look at the radar and see this band of rain keep on coming.

    Roads are closed everywhere up here as well as Brisbane. People have been requested not to drive unless it is absolutely necessary.

  21. Just an update from friends and friends of friends on facebook:

    From the mountains above you Shane:
    Tsunami at Montville!! A huge wall of water has just come down the creek taking trees &rocks etc in it’s path. Culvert totally blocked up causing a huge dam at the Palmwoods-Montville road & washed away my letterbox (had 80+ kg footing too!). Water over the road now and more avalanches just up the road. It’s all go at Montville

    “Tsunami” may have been a bit of hyperbole…

    From Forest Hill (Lockyer Valley)
    Just letting ppl knw forest hill is flooded. Most likely getting evacuated!…

    Getting helicopter out now apparently

    From Brisbane City:
    Left work and made it home okay. Be safe everyone.

    This whole situation is awful, you just feel so helpless. I get teary just thinking about it. My heart goes out to all who are suffering at this time.

  22. Bacchus

    Thanks for those updates. Monthville is right on the mountain side. Unlike Maleny which is higher but inland.

    There are land slides all around at varying degrees of severity.


    Can you email me at my email and I will respond by attaching a pic of driveway and side garden.

  23. Shane, great to “see” you again. Sorry you’re flooded in and I hope that this is as bad as it will get for you. I hope your friend in Toowoomba is OK.

    112.75 inches in 2010, that’s 11+ years of rainfall for my neck of the woods!

  24. Migs

    Have got your email and trying to attach a video for a cafe whispers first of footage from your reporter in Mooloolah Valley and the creek below the house but it is going very slow.

    It is amazing the rain. From 6.45am today until 5.12pm at the house here we have had 264ml or 10.56 inches and it hasn’t stopped yet.

    Still haven’t heard from my mate in Toowoomba.

  25. Migs, yes Aqua is at Caboolture. His house was flooded a while back and so I should imagine that he will be well and truly flooded this time.

  26. I don’t think that any phone calls are getting through now. It took me 3 times to get through to Erin but that was much earlier today.

  27. I was stupid enough to have a look at some of the reader’s comments on in response to the Prime Minister’s press conference today.

    I shake my head in disbelief. Most of the comments were nailing her for not showing strong leadership during the flooding crisis.


  28. Migs, how ridiculous…anyone with any common sense at all would realize that now is the time to stay out of the way and leave it to the experts, which Julia has done and then informed the public of advice she has received. Or maybe readers are yet to bother watching the PM’s news conference.

  29. Migs

    Gave up on videos so will try and send them from the office tomorrow if I get there. 2 pics sent instead.

  30. Migs & Min, she’s in a no-win situation. If she’d shown the “strong leadership” they’re bleating about, she would’ve been accused of big-noting and trying to take all the credit for the efforts of the flood relief services.

    Ditto the bullshit about the amount of relief being only $1m.

    Shane, good to know you’re OK and your house is still intact. Hope you manage to get in touch with your Toowoomba friend soon.

  31. Hello everyone!
    I know this blog is essentially about the floods and Tony Abbott, and his generally malevolent contributions to the political dialectic, no matter what the subject, however, as I thought you may still be interested in Julian Assange, I thought I’d give you a heads-up on an interview in the New Statesman between JA and John Pilger. Here’s an excerpt(they want you to pay for the whole thing) :

  32. Feral, from your link:

    The contents of these files are unknown, but, according to Assange, “[t]hey speak more of the same truth to power.” It is not just government that should be worried about the content of these files, however. “There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,” says Assange.

    One almost wishes this could be played out.

  33. Migs,
    I know Assange needs to have a ‘Nuclear Option’, but I just worry that, if as he says the Chinese have figured out how to get between every citizen and their internet communication and browsing, then you’d think the Americans would have figured it out too. Such that if Assange goes away into solitary confinement in an American prison they would take out that information and prevent its release.
    I guess that’s just being paranoid, and Assange admits to having done some pre-emptive work around that eventuality, such as having a failsafe mechanism to see the information keeps getting released, but you just don’t know anymore.

  34. Of interest is:

    THE Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has ordered a fresh inquiry into the case of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib.

    Julia Gillard requested the new probe amid dramatic claims of Australian government complicity in his 2001 CIA rendition to Egypt, where he was detained and tortured.

    The investigation follows a secret compensation payout made by the federal government to Mr Habib in December, apparently triggered by untested witness statements implicating Australian officials in his detention and brutal maltreatment in a Cairo military prison.

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