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Week 3 of Australia's "Hung Parliament"

Compiled by Andrew Middleton
An update on “The latest on Australia’s Hung Parliament,” August 31st

Abbott touted pub relief in Wilkie deal

4 September, 2010
From: The Australian

TONY Abbott offered to consider compensation for clubs and pubs as part of his drive to win the support of independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

The compensation would have been for clubs and pubs dependent on poker-machine income for their survival. This was part of his promise to crack down on problem gambling .

But Mr Wilkie, who has agreed with the Gillard government to vote against a no-confidence motion if Labor forms minority government, instead accepted Julia Gillard’s offer to impose restrictions on poker machine use and losses.

The Opposition Leader essentially offered the same deal, based on the findings of the Productivity Commission, to limit poker machine losses, as the ALP.

And Mr Abbott also offered to look at an industry adjustment package to help clubs and pubs with potential job losses.

Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball has accused the Prime Minister of backflipping on a deal to consult the industry before making any changes to gambling regulations.

Read full article

Black rights top Bob Katter’s wish list

4 September, 2010
From: The Australian

INDEPENDENT MP Bob Katter has accused successive governments of oppressing Aborigines, declaring that indigenous policy will affect his decision about whether to back Labor or the Coalition to form a government.

The north Queensland MP wants 100 per cent of the workers on indigenous housing projects to be Aborigines, and for Canberra to sink Queensland Premier Anna Bligh’s Wild Rivers legislation.

He says Aboriginal people should have full control over their own land.

Mr Katter is one of three independent MPs who will next week resolve the nation’s political deadlock by giving one of the major political parties his support to form a minority government after the August 21 election produced no winner.

Read full article

Parliament reform spat slows govt result

5 September 2010
From: MyWestnet

A decision on who forms government could be delayed with a squabble breaking out over parliamentary reform.

Labor and the coalition have previously indicated they would support changing parliament’s rules, but on Sunday the opposition declared some of the reforms could strengthen the hand of future governments.

“My role as manager of opposition business is to ensure that the parliament is not diminished and the executive’s power increased,” key coalition negotiator Christopher Pyne told AAP.

Rob Oakeshott wants both sides of politics to sign off on the reforms before he and fellow independents Tony Windsor and Bob Katter announce whether they’ll back Prime Minister Julia Gillard or Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Asked on Sunday whether the current squabbling could delay that announcement, Mr Pyne said: “What is important is the changes to the standing orders for the last 110 years be correct, not rushed”.

The coalition opposes proposed reforms to the speaker’s role and the guaranteeing of “pairing” for votes.

It supports other changes, including boosting the role of independents, elevating private members’ business, strengthening committees, establishing a parliamentary budget office and reforming Question Time.

A draft document outlining the proposed reforms was released by Mr Oakeshott on Saturday. Labor has supported all the measures.

Read full article

One may have to compromise: Windsor

6 September, 2010
From: NineMSN

One of the three rural independents may have to compromise and back their least favoured political party in the interests of stable government, Tony Windsor says.

Mr Windsor and his fellow independents Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott are still deciding whether to support a Labor or coalition minority government.

Labor is ahead in that race, holding 74 of the required 76 federal lower house seats – one more than the coalition.

Mr Windsor said if the trio couldn’t agree on whom to support, someone may have to compromise their views in order to avoid a 75-all outcome.

Read full article
Related: "Oakeshott prepared to compromise," September 6th

Tony Windsor supported radical action on climate change

6 September, 2010
From: The Australian

TONY Windsor introduced a private member’s bill to radically cut Australia’s carbon emissions before the Garnaut report was even released.

The Member for New England proposed Australia’s carbon emissions be cut by at least 30 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 – and by 80 per cent by 2050.

Mr Windsor’s decision to vote against the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme has been read in some quarters as a sign he will back Tony Abbott’s ‘direct action’ approach to climate change.

But as the trio of country independents continue to weigh up their options, Mr Windsor has hinted the ambitious targets in his private member’s bill may not reflect his personal beliefs.

Read full article
Also see: "Gillard faces Rudd-made climate trap," September 3rd

Coalition’s hopes for power sink

6 September, 2010
From: The Australian

THE Coalition is increasingly pessimistic about its chances of winning the support of the three rural independents it needs to take power.

The trio is preparing to end two weeks of political limbo.

Hopes are rising in the government that Labor will be able to win the backing of at least two of the three independents, even as senior Coalition figures made a last-ditch bid for support.

Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, and senior Liberal senator Bill Heffernan lunched with north Queensland independent Bob Katter yesterday in Canberra to discuss his 20-point wishlist as well as water and development issues.

Mr Katter is expected to declare his decision today, but Tony Windsor said he might not make a decision until tomorrow while Rob Oakeshott said he may need until Wednesday.

Senior sources believe the decision could go either way, but pessimism has grown among some senior Coalition figures over the “disengagement” of the independents during key briefings last week with senior frontbenchers.


Coalition sources worry about the fact that issues such as its broadband policy to counter Labor’s NBN and Treasury’s costing of the Coalition’s election promises were only briefly canvassed in the meetings, leaving them concerned the independents were “going through the the motions . . . It would seem they have not nearly negotiated and discussed and exchanged documents and all those sorts of things with us, like they have with Labor,” one Coalition source told The Australian.

“That’s the reason for the pessimism.”

Read full article

Greens to rush same-sex bill

4 September, 2010
From: The Australian

THE Greens will use their alliance with Labor to prosecute their push for same-sex marriage and liberalising the treatment of refugees by bringing forward their legislation and demanding it be debated, possibly with conscience votes, in the new parliament.

Greens leader Bob Brown confirmed his intentions yesterday as the Coalition warned that a returned Labor government controlled by the Greens would be the most radical in Australian political history.

Read full article
Related: "Gillard dumps citizen assembley as Labor, Greens strike alliance deal," September 1st
Also see: "Same Strategy, Different Socialists," August 28th

Final count still weeks away: AEC

6 September, 2010
From: The Australian

THE final count in the federal election can be expected within three weeks, the electoral commission has said.

At noon on Monday, 91.92 per cent of the House of Representatives vote had been counted, with the Senate count slightly behind on 87.3 per cent.

But so far only nine lower house seats have been officially declared out of 150.

Read full article

Decision likely for Tuesday, major parties prefer Government over re-election

6 September, 2010
From: ABC News

Independent MP Tony Windsor says a decision on which party will form government is unlikely to be made today.

Mr Windsor and his fellow independents Bob Katter and Rob Oakeshott have spent the weekend mulling over which party to support, and will hold talks together in Canberra today.

Mr Windsor says they also plan to meet Labor leader Julia Gillard and Coalition leader Tony Abbott one more time before making a final decision.

“My guess is, on the basis of all that, we’ll make a determination probably tomorrow morning,” Mr Windsor said.

Although keen not to raise expectations, he has not totally ruled out a decision today.

“Anything could happen,” he said.

“I won’t be making a final call until I’ve really sat down with the other two and talked through it, because there is a possibility here that we end up with 75-all, in a mathematical sense.

“I’ve asked people from both sides of the parliament ‘Do you want another election?’ and they nearly run in fear when you suggest that to them.”

The independents are hopeful that the Coalition will today join Labor in signing onto a series of parliamentary reforms.

Mr Oakeshott says there will be a decision soon.

“Realistically, a couple more days at worst, and hopefully by within 24 hours at best,” he said.

The Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate from July next year is a serious point of consideration.

“The reality is, the Greens are in the House,” said Mr Oakeshott.

“That is a pragmatic reality we all have to get used to, like it or not.”

Read full article

Recent comedy skit on Australia’s “Hung Parliament” by Clarke & Dawes, as featured on The 7:30pm Report, September 2nd

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The latest on Australia's "Hung Parliament"

Andrew Wilkie & Wars, PM Power, Heffernan the “devil,” 2PP vote and What about the Economy?

By Andrew Middleton (all emphasis mine)
Australia's "Hung Parliament" as explained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on August 23rd
Regular update on "Does Australia have a Government yet?"

Who is Independent MP Andrew Wilkie?

Exerts from the ABC (26 August, 2010):

Independent Andrew Wilkie is looking ever more likely to claim the previously safe Tasmanian Labor seat of Denison and join three other independents holding the key to power in Australia’s new federal parliament. (ABC Election Results for Denison)

A former Duntroon cadet, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and worked for United States defence giant Raytheon.

He continued his defence career as an intelligence analyst with the Office of National Assessment.

But he caused a huge storm in 2003 when he resigned and spoke out against the Howard government on the Iraq war, saying there was no intelligence to indicate Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Wilkie ran against Mr Howard for the Greens in the seat of Bennelong in 2004. It was a remarkable transformation for a man who was once a young Liberal. He also ran for the Greens on their Tasmanian Senate ticket in 2007. He was unsuccessful and resigned from the party in 2008, criticising them for a lack of professionalism. Privately, some in the Greens are just as critical of Mr Wilkie and say he was too demanding in pushing for campaign resources.

Read full article
Wilkie’s unusual mix of policies keeps voters of all shades on side (good opinion piece)

Wilkie’s list of 20 “priorities” does not include mention of Australia’s foriegn military engagements

List from The Age (30 August, 2010):

National
* Introduction of maximum $1 bet and $120/hour loss limits on all poker machines in Australia.
* Urgent action on climate change, including a price on carbon.
* Honouring the word and spirit of the UN Refugee Convention.
* Federal whistleblower legislation.
* According the same funding priority to mental health care as afforded currently to GP and hospital services.
* Including dental care in Medicare.
* Overturning the recent Federal Government decision to extend to 2014 the review of the Federal funding model for education. Instead complete the review by 2012, and implement the recommendations as soon as practicable. Increased funding for tertiary institutions.
* Increasing all Government pensions, allowances and other payments to levels people can actually live on. Enhance the method of indexation so as to ensure they genuinely keep pace with inflation.
* A conscience vote on same-sex marriage.
* Increased funding of aged care facilities.
* The introduction of a national disability insurance scheme.

Local
* Replacement of the Royal Hobart Hospital. In the interim, leasing of sub-acute beds in private hospitals to help reduce the RHH occupancy rate to the national level.
* Stage 3 of the National Broadband Network complete by end 2012.
* Withdrawal of all Federal Government approvals for Gunns’ Tamar River pulp mill.
* Immediate release of the $20 million relief funding for Tasmanian forestry contractors pledged by the ALP and Coalition.
* Stage 1 of the Southern Councils Transport Plan implemented.
* The northern suburbs light rail funded and developed.
* Re-alignment of the Brighton bypass to protect the Jordan River levee Aboriginal heritage site. Upgrade of the Brooker Highway and Plenty Valley link road.
* Upgrade Hobart inner port infrastructure.
* Realisation of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery master plan.
* Stage 1 of the Glenorchy Sports, Recreation and Community Precinct funded and developed.

Office
* Adequate staffing and office space to deal with the workload of an Independent Member of Parliament

Read full article
Read opinion piece

Just two of these “priorities” will make Wilkie’s decision

Exerts from The Australian (31 August, 2010):

ANDREW Wilkie has declared fixing the Royal Hobart Hospital and pokies reform are the two issues that will decide who he backs to form government.

Reserving the right to not formally support either political party, the independent MP for Denison would offer the party he backed a guarantee not to block supply or support any “reckless” no-confidence motions.

He reserved the right also to vote against a minister if he or she acted grossly irresponsibly and unethically and would fiercely defend his right to vote on each piece of legislation the new government put forward on its merits. His support could not be relied on for its entire program.

He would support only an “ethical” government and was not interested in which side had the most votes or the most seats.

“I’m still to decide whether any one party or parties is going to do that,” he said.

“I reserve the option of backing no party or parties and letting the other 149 members come together and stand up a government and opposition.

“I note that in the last few months the Labor government has been neither stable, competent or ethical and I’m yet to be persuaded that the opposition can do any better.”

Mr Wilkie, who went to dinner last night in Canberra with the three rural independents, criticised their decision to act as a bloc.

The former army officer said of his list of 22 priorities that there were “at least two” that “I have said both to the Prime Minister and to the Opposition Leader there must be reform on”.

The former intelligence analyst, whistleblower and retired lieutenant colonel denied the list represented demands, rather his “priorities” in negotiations.

Read full article

All this despite Wilkie stating the justification for the War in Afghanistan as one of the “great lies of the election campaign”

Exert from ABC News (29 August 2010):

He met Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Melbourne yesterday and presented her with a list of 20 issues that are important to him.

While his stance on the Afghanistan war is not part of that list, Mr Wilkie has made it clear he is against troops staying there.

“The war in Afghanistan and what is being said by the Coalition and the Labor Party is one of the great lies of this election campaign,” he said.

“Both Labor Party members and Coalition members continue to perpetuate this nonsense, that we’re only there to fight terrorists to prevent them coming to Australia, to prevent them committing terrorist attacks here.”

He says politicians need to be honest about the reasons Australia is still in Afghanistan.

“They at the moment are trying to implement a policy put in place by, I think, incompetent politicians and this continuing lie about why we are there,” he said.

Let’s be honest: let’s say we’re there to help the people of Afghanistan and to bolster our bilateral relationship with the US.”

He says he did originally support the invasion in November 2001 and he still backs Australian soldiers “100 per cent”, but there is no need to stay.

“I don’t know the solution from here. If we stay people will die, if we go people will die,” he said.

“But I do know peace will only come to Afghanistan when foreign troops are out and I think they should get out as soon as possible.”

Two more soldiers died last week in Afghanistan, taking the total number of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan since 2001 to 21.

Read full article

Bob Katter says the next PM will have “more power”

Exert from The Australian (31 August, 2010):

INDEPENDENT MP Bob Katter says the new PM will have more power than previous prime ministers after being anointed by independents to form the next government.

The north Queensland MP said he and fellow country independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor would be able to invest the new prime minister with greater political muscle than previous prime ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd. To illustrate his point, he said Mr Howard and Mr Rudd had both agreed with him that competition reform had hurt Australians. But despite leading governments, they lacked the power to act.

“Well, we will deliver to one or the other that sort of power,” Mr Katter said.

Read full article

Why did Liberal Party Senator Bill Heffernan ring Independent MP Robert Oakeshott as “the devil”?

Exerts from the ABC (30 August, 2010):

Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan says he is sorry for identifying himself as “the devil” during a phone conversation with the wife of independent MP Rob Oakeshott. Mr Oakeshott is one of the key independents who are deciding which party to support in a hung parliament.

Mr Oakeshott said the phone call was weird and had chipped away at the confidence he was prepared to show in Mr Abbott. “So that has been unhelpful,” he said. He said Mr Abbott’s capacity to control rogue elements within the Coalition would be a factor in his decision about which party to support in a minority government.

Read full article

The two-party preferred majority is still on a knife-edge

31 August, 12:06AM: “Gillard mandates slips (The Australian)
31 August, 10:27AM
: “Coalition steams ahead” (The Australian)

This led to Liberal MP Julie Bishop leaping on Gillard’s ‘measure’ of a mandate when it came to the two-party preffered majority (exerts from ABC News, 31 August 2010):

Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop says Prime Minister Julia Gillard has lost her mandate to form government after Labor has lost its lead in the two-party preferred vote.
Ms Gillard had been using Labor’s lead in the two-party preferred vote to claim a mandate for Labor forming government. Now Ms Bishop has used the new figures to attack Ms Gillard’s argument.
“Julia Gillard set it as the bar. She said that was the plank for Labor being able to form government. Well that plank is now falling away,” she told Lateline.

Read full article

But then at 12:48PM (exert from The Australian, 31 August 2010)…

“The latest counting showed Labor ahead of the Coalition by 3724 votes – a 50.02-49.98 per cent split – with 80.93 per cent of the vote counted. Labor snatched back the lead from the Coalition in the closely watched vote this morning.”

Read full article

The ABC reported the same around the same time. Yet it’s Anthony Green – election analyst expert from the ABC – who says we won’t know for weeks anyway. Will the two-party preferred vote count matter in terms of the decisions made by the Independents? Should it matter? And if it does matter to the Independents, how long will it take to ascertain a winning majority?

Pre-poll votes in Boothby count discarded

Exert from ABC News (31 August 2010):

The Labor Party is not ruling out a legal challenge to the result in the marginal Federal South Australian seat of Boothby, after another turn in the count.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has accepted legal advice to exclude 2,977 votes from the count.

The decision has reduced the lead of the sitting Liberal Andrew Southcott by 339 votes, but he has claimed victory with a current lead of 1,394 votes more than ALP candidate Annabel Digance.

The excluded votes were cast at an early voting centre at suburban Oaklands Park.

They were later deemed to have been handled in a way which contravened provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act when they were removed from a box and placed into another by an AEC employee.

Read full article

What about the economy?

A 2-to-3 week delay in forming a new Government, as appears likely, will not noticeably effect our economy and arguments are thin on the ground for how it relevantly could. As everyone seemed to acknowledge during the global financial crisis, the overall performance of Australia’s economy in the 21st century is influenced by far more than just actions taken by our Federal Government and was very much at the mercy of external factors. Indeed, a popular cliche in 2008 was “When America sneezes, the rest of the World coughes.”

However, leaving “the devil” Bill Heffernan and his phone calls aside, headlines and claims have come thick & fast in the mainstream media and from business leaders that a hung Parliament is particularly “bad for business” and the “gang of 3” Independent MPs should come to their decision quicker than at their own pace, in their own way. Today we’ve seen Dominic Knight, a contributor to popular ABC comedy The Chasers and writing on a also publicly funded ABC website, attempting to ridicule the “gang of 3” (Windsor, Oakeshott, and Katter) in his article titled, “Australia voted, now the independents should too.” (31 August 2010, ABCs The Drum) This is a curious paradigm to frame his article in, seeing as his first charge of the “gang of 3” is:

“And unless they slept through the Rudd years – for which they could, admittedly, be forgiven – they must have a firm view about whether they’d rather see Gillard or Abbott as PM.”

Unless Knight hasn’t looked at the actual results of the election, or even realise what he was talking about in that instance, the voters didn’t actually have a firm view about whether they’d rather see Gillard or Abbott as PM at the conclusion of a six-week election campaign. So you’d think it’d make complete sense that these Independent MPs would also take their time in coming to a decision that they previously wouldn’t have anticipated having to make in their wildest dreams.

However, funny man Knight is seemingly outraged (and this author acknowledges it’s probably a tongue-in-cheek article) that these 3 Independent MPs dare gather some more in-depth information on the situation and the policies of either Party before making a well-thought out and reasoned decision. A decision which could actually have massive ramifications for the Australian economy and the future of its People and sovereignty, when it comes to the implementation of a carbon tax and a mining tax as currently desired by the Labor and Greens Parties. Knight thinks that decision should’ve been made “about a week ago,” with no actual reason is given for the frustration outside of the ABC’s Election Analyst Anthony Green needing a holiday…

A good example of the “bad for business” argument, which is just as thinly reasoned as the previously discussed article, can be seen in the following Sydney Morning Herald article titled, “Hung parliament ‘bad for business’” (22 August 2010), which begins with:

A hung parliament poses a risk to the economy and will dampen consumer confidence, business groups say. With counting set to continue for days, Labor and the coalition are in a deadlock for lower house seats and the balance of power looks likely to rest with three independents and one Greens member.

“For financial markets, a hung parliament probably is the worst possible outcome,” JP Morgan economist Stephen Walters said on Sunday.

Financial markets are possibly the best example of a market which Australian Government measures scarcely effects and which Australian Government policy or lack there-of barely scares off those looking to invest. This point is seemingly acknowledged by the same JP Morgan economist:

“A layer of persistent political risk … against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty over the state of the global economy, will weigh on investor sentiment.”

Would the same uncertainty over the state of the global economy weigh on investor sentiment more than the formation of any Australian Government? Well, for any savvy investor not taking advice from JP Morgan, it might. The next interest-group spokesperson acknowledges that the Greens Party getting the balance of power in the Senate is bad for business. So you’d expect it to be a good thing that there isn’t be a Government in place which can be lobbied to or even work in coalition with this new force in Australian politics, right? Apparently not:

Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said the prospect of a hung parliament, plus a Senate where the Greens hold the balance of power, was a worrying outcome for businesses.
“It will potentially lead to instability, uncertainty and short-termism in policy development, all of which poses risks and challenges for the economy,” Ms Ridout said.

Surely Ms. Ridout can acknowledge she can’t have it all and this is better for her than a Labor Party Government already formed, for instance. While we had a JP Morgan economist speaking on behalf of investor sentiment, we had the Australian National Retailers Association speaking on behalf of consumer sentiment:

The Australian National Retailers Association also believes continuing political uncertainty will be bad for its members and the economy.
“Continued political instability will have a negative impact on the sector as consumers stay away from the shops,” chief executive Margo Osmond said.
“Election campaigns traditionally generate a brake on spending and the lack of a clear outcome will extend that effect beyond polling day.

Are you shopping less due to it being a “hung Parliament”? Has anybody thought of it when going to spend a dollar since August 21st? After the doom & gloom introduction, however, the August 22 article concludes far more positively with two very credible and objective voices when it comes to the matter of how the hung Parliament situation will affect Australia’s economy on the whole:

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson called on businesses and consumers to carry on as normal despite the uncertain political landscape.

“A caretaker period in national politics does not put the economy on hold,” he said.

Australians need not see the tightness of political combat as anything but an expression of a working democracy. Neither the business community nor the public should put economic or investment decisions on hold during this period.”

Commonwealth Securities senior analyst Craig James said Australia’s economic strength would not be jeopardised by the election outcome, with many key factors remaining stable no matter which party won government.

“We still will have, in our view, a credible economic manager, whether its Labor or Liberal,” he said.

If only those views made the introduction of the article, maybe the headline would’ve read: “No concerns for economy during Hung Parliament.” Yet surely the most reflective headline for the content would have been “Mixed thoughts on economic impact of Hung Parliament.” Not nearly as sensational, however.

Read full article

Also see

23 August, “10 uncertainties for business from a Hung Parliament” (SmartCompany)
24 August, “Business hopes for quick end to political uncertainty” (ABC News)

Recent economic figures and commentary highlight the above points:

1. Australia’s economy is far more dependent on economic, environmental, and political situations around it, than it does on Government action or inaction:

This week’s post-election financial market action – shares down, the dollar off by a couple of cents and easing long-term bond yields – has been driven by fears that the US economic recovery is stalling.

From: August 28, “The economic costs of a fractured parliament could break us” (The Australian)

Also see
August 30, “Local market enjoys 5-week high” (ABC News)
August 31, “No silver bullet to fix US economy, warns Obama.” (The Australian)
August 31, “[Global] Double-dip recession possible: RBA” (ABC News’ The World Today)

2. The likely alternative (and still possible conclusion) to the current hung Parliament situation from the August 21st election, would be the incumbent Labor Party holding office with the Greens Party holding a “balance of power” in the Senate from the 1st of July, 2011. This would more than likely lead to new taxes – possibly at a higher rate than what the Labor Party campaigned for at the election – which would majorly effect the main industry which can quickly bring us out of deficit, the mining industry. The possibility of this tax is now delayed as we have the proverbial “draw” with the same big tax concerns that existed pre-election, but without a Government who can act upon or be lobbied on such proposals:

August 23, “Australian election limbo continues” CBC News:

Stocks in Australia’s biggest mining companies rose Monday as the government’s plans for a new tax on their profits were thrown into doubt after the nation’s closest election in almost 50 years delivered no clear mandate.

Also see
August 28, “Gillard walks fine line on Greens” (The Australian)
August 31, “Mining exports boost GDP, slashes $10bn off current account deficit.” (PerthNow)

3. This author is just an average Australian, and for the average Australian, having no Government in power to implement/increase taxes or remove civil liberties has to be a most desirable outcome out of possible outcomes that can be thought. The Australian public also get to hear from a wider array of voices and opinions than it otherwise would have without the Hung Parliament scenario.

How long in limbo?

Who knows when Australia will have a Government exactly! Check this website for a recent update on whether or not it does. But the limbo does eventually have to come to an end:

Legal experts from the Australian National University said election rules allowed Gillard to carry on in her caretaker role for up to three months while she struggled to enlist a majority.

From: August 23, “Australian election limbo continues” (CBC News)

Also keep in mind that another election – at least for the House of Representatives – is still a possible outcome from the current negotiations. Indeed, it’s a possibility the major parties are currently preparing for:

August 31st, “Second election costly for major parties” (ABC News’ The World Today)

Conclusion

Ah, Australia, the lucky country. It seems like her people won’t even have to put up with a Government for the start of the traditional September footy finals. The only people disappointed are those believing we need urgent action to reduce human carbon emissions, those people will just have to hold their breath for the time being. But surely the most important thing to come up from this scenario is the chance for change and the chance to question, where there previously was not. From going to sleep on August 21st to waking up August 22nd, the major party politicians who so obviously uninspired the nation during the election campaign, saw the focus move away from them and onto otherwise unheard voices with some previously unheard and certainly not listened to views.

This could well be a trend in the political atmosphere in Australia, or certainly could be if people want it to be. As not just in this Hung Parliament scenario, but in the short-term future, battle lines will be re-drawn in what’s a dramatically altered Parliament already with the Greens having the “balance of power” in the Senate for the first time. So if you demand change on an issue of importance, or in the Australian political system in general, get informed, get active, and get your voice heard.

Clarke & Dawe have done comedy skits on the hung Parliament situation, as seen on The 7:30 Report 26th of August and 1st of September, 2010:

My Letter to Robert Oakeshott, Independent MP

After the tight Australian Federal Election result, it is more than likely that 3 (possibly 4) independent elected members of Parliament will figure largely in the configuration of the new Government. Issues such as “climate change action” and internet censorship may well be key to the discussions these men hold with both major parties, and public statements from at least one of the Independents – Robert Oakeshott – are that an emissions trading scheme would be “a priority” to him (22 August 2010, Herald Sun). Please e-mail Robert and/or any of the independents involved in these negotiations with your concerns and thoughts on the situation:

Robert Oakeshott (Lyne, NSW): robert.oakeshott.mp@aph.gov.au
Tony Windsor (New England, NSW): Tony.Windsor.MP@aph.gov.au
Bob Katter (Kennedy, QLD): bobkatter@gmail.com
Andrew Wilkie* (Denison, TAS): wilkie.andrew@bigpond.com
* Probable – see latest vote count.

Read my letter below and feel free to grab ideas and links from it.

Hello Robert,

I appreciate that you would be endlessly communicating with people all over Australia, so may I just congratulate you on your re-election as the member for Lyne and list 5 points with references for your consideration, largely in response to your focus on combating apparent climate change as I read about here:

http://www.roboakeshott.com/node/527 (November 2009)
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/special-reports/emissions-trading-scheme-is-my-priority-rob-oakeshott-says/story-fn5ko0pw-1225908483106 (August 22nd, 2010)

1)         You say you’re happy providing anyone the “relevant documents” regarding human-based influence on the climate if they have their doubts. I would certainly appreciate being provided with that, and I’ll offer some of my proof as to why I’m sceptical of your point of view:

The Sceptics Handbook: http://joannenova.com.au/global-warming/
The weather stations can’t be trusted: http://surfacestations.org
Former NASA Scientist Dr. Roy Spencer’s thoughts & satellite tempreture stations:
http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-natural-or-manmade/

31 500 scientists don’t accept your point of view:
http://petitionproject.org
CLIMATEGATE: The Mother of all Scientific Scandals:
(did you hear about this when encouraging the implementation of an ETS last November?)

“On November 19, 2009, climate science was severely shaken by the release of a collection of email messages, together with a collection of data and data processing programs, that were hacked or revealed by a whistle blower from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU), one of the key centers of global warming research. These emails and text files have been the subject of intense debate, calling to question assumptions on anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.”

From: http://www.climate-gate.org

Also see:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/25/climategate-hide-the-decline-codified
http://wattsupwiththat.com/climategate

Other related scandals

Legal verdict: Manmade global warming science doesn’t withstand scrutiny
http://opinion.financialpost.com/2010/06/06/legal-verdict-manmade-global-warming-science-doesn%E2%80%99t-withstand-scrutiny

India Says it “Cannot Rely” on Biased UN Climate Panel, Forms National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology
http://www.dailytech.com/India%20Says%20it%20Cannot%20Rely%20on%20Biased%20UN%20Climate%20Panel%20Forms%20National%20Institute%20of%20Himalayan%20Glaciology/article17621.htm

The IPCC consensus on climate change was phoney, says IPCC insider
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/06/13/the-ipcc-consensus-on-climate-change-was-phoney-says-ipcc-insider

9 lies of Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” – as decided on by a Judge
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/3310137/Al-Gores-nine-Inconvenient-Untruths.html

UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7000063.ece

Expert report says claims of livestock causing global warming are false
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100031389/now-its-cowgate-expert-report-says-claims-of-livestock-causing-global-warming-are-false/

“NOAA Satellite failure means decade of Global Warming data doubtful” (August 11, 2010)
http://www.climatechangefraud.com/climate-reports/7491-official-satellite-failure-means-decade-of-global-warming-data-doubtful
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/26603

Even the head scientist of the IPCC Phil Jones says: “There’s been no warming since 1995”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

So what exactly is it that you’ll be sending me that completely outweights all of this and more..?

2)   You say: “I would personally say, let’s go back to the Garnaut report and try and get something through based on that. The template is there, stick to the script, keep it simple.” Garnaut however, appears accepting of the fact that Australia acting alone would be pointless:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/industry-sectors/garnaut-warns-dont-go-alone/story-e6frg976-1111118250254

He also accepts that a global recession is not a “good time for good policy”
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/might-be-best-to-dump-ets-says-garnaut/story-e6frea8c-1225699388402

Accepting these two points as fact, why would you, and for that matter the next Parliament of Australia, be so hell bent on an ETS? We’re not out of that global recession yet by any means, are we Robert..? Or would that also depend on whether “Garnaut says so”?

3)         An ETS would be so open to manipulation I’m surprised anyone who wants to see People before Profits would support it. I personally have been to the Walk Against Warming community events (http://www.walkagainstwarming.org) and there was far from a consensus amongst those who believe the man-made global warming theory on any sort of a carbon price/trading scheme, and after speaking to my group of friends and myself, some were even in more doubt about it being a worthwhile venture in achieving carbon emission reduction. Lets have a look at how it has gone in Europe in regards to corruption in their trading scheme:

[The flyer I handed out at the Walk Against Warming] http://wearechangewa.com/downloads/documents/pdf/Flyers—We.Are.Change—ClimateGate.pdf

“Denmark rife with CO2 fraud”
http://www.cphpost.dk/news/national/88-national/47643-denmark-rife-with-co2-fraud.html

“Hackers hit Europe’s Carbon Market”
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/hackers-hit-europes-carbon-market/

“Carbon Permit Tax Fraud Drove Huge Increases in Market Volume, Report Finds”
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/carbon-permit-tax-fraud-drove-huge-increases-in-market-volume-report-finds/

“Europol: $7.4 Billion Lost from Carbon Trading Fraud in Europe,” 10 December 2010
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/europol-74-billion-lost-from-carbon-trading-fraud-in-europe/

“U.K. Arrests 22 as CO2 Tax Probe Widens in Europe,” 30 April 2010
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-30/u-k-arrests-22-as-co2-tax-probe-widens-in-europe-update2-.html

“The great carbon credit con: Why are we paying the Third World to poison its environment?”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1188937/The-great-carbon-credit-eco-companies-causing-pollution.html

4)         The Greens suggestion for climate change action are the most extreme out there, of course. What many are not aware of is the Global Governance agenda behind the talk. Please read the Greens “Global Governance” policy off their website: http://greens.org.au/policies/human-rights-democracy/global-governance

They also have related Global Governance measures in their other economic policies, such as:

15.  At the international level, support the implementation of a currency transaction tax (Tobin Tax) to discourage global currency speculation and to provide an independent tax base for international institutions.

24.  establish mechanisms to prevent the debt crisis from recurring, such as introducing the potential for penalties for surplus as well as debtor nations.

From: http://greens.org.au/policies/sustainable-economy/global-economics

5)      This is an agenda backed up by the United Nations, as seen at the Copenhagen Summit and announcements since:

“A deal must include an equitable global governance structure. All countries must have a voice in how resources are deployed and managed. That is how trust will be built.”

The 4th benchmark for success at Copenhagen of UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon writing for the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/opinion/26iht-edban.html?_r=4

Copenhagen Accord Establishes Global Government Framework:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/copenhagen-accord-establishes-global-government-framework.html

Leaked UN Documents reveal plan for “Green World Order” by 2012:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/leaked-un-documents-reveal-plan-for-green-world-order-by-2012.html

So do you understand what’s at stake here negotiating favourably with the Greens and for a carbon reduction agenda? The erosion of Australian sovereignty. The Liberals aren’t totally against a carbon tax or trading system but in the position you’re in, you can influence the possibility of it in any future Government structure. Consider your position and possible assumptions carefully, because initial indications show you’re being led down the Greens Garden Path…

I have a book called “The past and future of Climate” by Professor David Archibald along with DVDs to send you if you’d like.

Regards,
________________

Beau Woods – Senate Candidate (WA) for The Climate Sceptics Party

From: http://climatesceptics.com.au

Born: Perth, Australia, 1983
Education: Narrogin Senior High School
Murdoch University

Qualifications: B.Sc(Chiro) B.Chiro, Bachelor of Commerce (Management)

Employment: 4 years self employed as a chiropractor in both rural and metro Western Australia.

Faced with the constant barrage of Global Warming propaganda, Australians can be forgiven for thinking ‘the science is settled’, ‘climate change is real’ and the existence of a ‘scientific consensus’ with the only solution….wait for it…more tax of course. Most Australians (myself included previously) don’t have the time to investigate the issues and as such we have allowed the extreme green left to control the discourse. The encouragement of critical thinking is something sadly lacking from our democracy, but it is my hope that my involvement with The Climate Sceptics will stimulate debate and critical evaluation of this issue by the people of Western Australia.

The Australian Senate was designed by our founding fathers to be a house of review, where each state elected an equal number of senators who would represent the best interests of their state. This is no longer the case. The senate is a house of rubber stamps, where senators rarely cross the floor and are controlled by faceless power-brokers. If elected, I will represent the best interests of West Australians first and foremost. A carbon tax would not be in West Australia’s interest as it is a tax on economic output and ultimately will cost jobs.

WeAreChange Western Australia endorses Beau Woods (The Climate Sceptics Party) as a Federal Senate Candidate for WA. Find him on your white Upper House voting ballot paper this Federal Election, August 21st.

Senator Ludlam: “The time for Australians to stand up is right now, and we are standing up.”

This article originally posted at Stop the Filter.org.
By Andrew Middleton, House of Representatives Petition Coordinator

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam (pictured, image credit: David Howe) has given a conclusive rebuttal to comments made by the Labor Government’s Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the Four Corners documentary, Access Denied, aired on the 10th of May, 2010. The documentary, still viewable online at ABC iView, reveals how an apparently well meaning attempt by [the Australian] government to protect children from video nasties on the net turned into a policy that critics say promotes censorship and reduces personal freedom.

During the documentary, the Communications Minister has the following pledge to the Australian public:

“If a majority of the Parliament in the future want to broaden the classification – meaning of material caught by the filter – well then, Australians should stand up and say ‘just a minute’, and I’ll be one of them.”

To which Senator Ludlam quoted and responded to, just two days later in the Senate:

“Of course, by that time it will be too late. That is the future of this filter: a majority of a future parliament, probably under pressure of some kind of moral panic-whatever that may be-broadening the filter to include a larger scope of banned material and Stephen Conroy standing there in the minority, saying, ‘Just a minute,’ shortly before losing the vote. Once the architecture is in place, the idea that future governments will not be tempted to expand its scope is impossible to entertain. The reasons are technical, as well as political.”

(Senator Ludlam’s full statement in the Senate can be read in transcript, or viewed as film)

This is an important distinction made by Senator Ludlam in why he opposes the mandatory ISP filtering plan, and it’s one that all reading this should consider carefully. Later in the Parliamentary statement, the Senator had this important message relating to Mr. Conroy’s pledge, which is worth emphasising:

“In terms of the minister’s comments about people standing up and saying no if future governments proposed to increase the scope, and saying that that would be the time for Australians to stand up: the time for Australians to stand up is right now, and we are standing up.

Scott Ludlam has good authority to speak as an Australian standing up on the issue of the Labor Govnerment’s mandatory web filtering proposal, having attended and spoke at both the December 2008 and March 2010 rallys held in Perth which were aimed at informing the public and expressing opposition to the proposal. Scott also regularly asks questions and makes statements in Parliamentary Question Time and Senate Hearing about the matter, along with making public statements on his blog and taking media interviews, as he happened to yesterday on the ABC’s Triple J program Hack.

Scott’s message to Australians in his May 12 Senate statement pre-empted the May 22nd National Day of Action, which occured in 3 locations around Australia on both sides of the continent. The campaign for these Days of Action were driven by the official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives, which now has around 6500-7000 signatures penned in total with 4400 already received by Principal Petitioner Melissa Short. It will be presented to the House of Representatives and put on the public Hansard record on the 21st of June, 2010 with the  Australian Petitions Committee accepting signatures no later than the 11th of June, 2010. With this recent extended submission deadline, the decision has been made to ask concerned and active Australians to continue gathering signatures, and for them to be mailed to Melissa no later than Tuesday, the 8th of June. The earlier sent the better, so they can be checked & counted before submission.

Review of the May 22nd Day of Action

BRISBANE

The Brisbane Day of Action was the most successful from the day in terms of petition signatures, with a massive 461 signatures acquired in just 3 hours. The Sunshine State delivered a beautiful day for Mel Short, Matt Anderson, Tim Hunt, Gregor, Ben, Eris, Fritz, Shonika, & Warrick to setup tables, petitions, and paraphenalia at Central Station, Brisbane, and ask the public passing by if they’re aware of the Government’s proposal, and if they’d like to sign the petition. The last person mentioned in that list, Warrick Fraser, edited the following video from the Day of Action in Brisbane and many thanks to him for doing so:

Warrick was also good enough to take some photos on the day too. Here he is on the video camera:

Table setup with petitions and information sheets:

Josh Meney’s “Censor This!” poster displayed:

A big thanks must also go to Matt Anderson for funding the printed poster and the table, and generally putting in a big effort in organising and promoting the Event.

MELBOURNE

In Federation Square, Melbourne, a fascinating piece of street theatre was carried out by Nicolas Wheeler:

Nicolas was shortly asked to move on by the Victorian State police and did so, but this photograph is testament to a statement made about the inevitable possibility of legal freedoms being reduced under the mandatory ISP filter. There is video footage of the moving on of the display and attempted interview with Nic by media crew below. Afterwards, Nicolas was joined by other activists to gain petition signatures, and in all nearly 200 were gathered. A super effort and many thanks, Nick and co.!

PERTH

Despite the inclement weather overnight leading into the Saturday, Petition Coordinator Andrew Middleton, Julian, and Daniel Kruppa still managed to find a couple of hours in the afternoon to campaign for petition signatures out the front of Fremantle Town Hall. 37 signatures were garnered from the sparse Fremantle crowd, with many viabrant conversations being had with people from all walks of life. Those who were aware of the issue, had a good understanding of the problems associated with the proposed mandatory ISP filtering plan which was pleasing. In particular, an exchange with an English tourist, who despite not caring what happened in this country, was eventually turned around to signing the petition after agreeing with us that what occurs in our political landscape is highly likely to effect England’s political landscape, and vice-versa.

Next two Saturday’s complete Trifecta of Days of Action

In keeping with Scott Ludlam’s urgings for Australians to stand up, locations this Saturday and next Saturday (May 29th, June 5th) around Australia will again have grassroots activists present with petitions in hand, and the more people & signatures the better. So if you’re interested in just coming down and signing the petition, joining a posted location below and help get more signatures, or starting an Action in your local area that you’d like promoting on this website and/or on social networking sites, please take note of the location details posted below and get in contact with the following organisers!

PRINCIPAL PETITIONER & BRISBANE ORGANISER:
Melissa Short

SEE PETITION CAMPAIGNING IN BRISBANE ON THE 6TH OF JUNE, IN THIS SHORT VIDEO:

Meetup.com Calander page:
http://www.meetup.com/WeAreChangeBrisbane/calendar/13669591/

ARTICLE AUTHOR, PETITION COORDINATOR & PERTH ORGANISER:
Andrew Middleton, wearechangewa@hotmail.com

Where: Outside the entrance to the Alexander Library, Perth Cultural Center (25 Francis Street, Perth)
When: Saturday, June 5, 11:30am – 2pm
Bring: Copies of the 14-box petition, available here. A clipboard and a pen (black or blue)

Facebook Event page:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125091344181741

Posted links on this article: (in order of appearance)

  1. 10 May 2010: Access Denied, ABC "Four Corners" documentary still viewable online at ABC iView
  2. 12 May 2010: Senator Ludlam's full statement to the Senate can be read in transcript, or viewed as film
  3. December 2008 and March 2010 Perth rallys against internet censorship
  4. 3 May 2010: Senate answers shed some more light on filter, Electronic Frontiers Australia
  5. 26 May 2010: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Net Filtering, Senator Scott Ludlam
  6. 25 May 2010: Senator Ludlam interview on the Hack program, ABC Radio
  7. Ongoing until June: Official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives homepage
  8. 22 May 2010: Video footage of Brisbane's Day of Action
  9. Ongoing until June: Official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives printout
  10. April 2010: "Censor This!" poster produced by Josh Meney
  11. 22 May 2010, Federation Square Melbourne: Internet Censorship Strangles Freedom video
  12. 6 June 2010: Anti-Internet Censorship Petition Campaigning Video - Fortitude Valley Mall, Brisbane
  13. 30 May 2010: Meetup.com calander post for Brisbane's Day of Action this Saturday Sunday
  14. 5 June 2010: Facebook Event page for Perth's Day of Action this Saturday.
The personal views, beliefs and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of “Stop the Filter” or “WeAreChange Western Australia” as a whole.

Australian Anti-Internet Censorship Campaign Update

By Andrew Middleton (contact: wearechangewa@hotmail.com)
6th May, 2010

We start the update on the Australian anti-internet censorship campaign – mobilised due to the Labor Government’s proposed mandatory ISP filtering plan (see WeAreChange WA’s previous article on the matter) – with the above poster designed by Josh Meney, an Australian activist who put his artwork onto the web in the past fortnight free to publish. Thanks to Josh for pouring his creative energies into this striking and provocative poster. It joins a now burgeoning amount of fantastic artistic pieces that have been created about this issue.

Certainly those of us who wish to see the content on the Internet remain free from Government control for the Australian public – both now and in years to come – will need to continue to pour energy into this campaign as despite some speculation, the proposed mandatory ISP filter is still planned to go ahead by the current Labor Government and still has strong support from a small but influential assortment of political parties, ministers, and interest groups. An article in The Australian on the 29th of April titled, “Rudd retreats on web filter legislation,” states:

“KEVIN Rudd has put another election promise on the backburner with his controversial internet filtering legislation set to be shelved until after the next election. A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said yesterday the legislation would not be introduced next month’s or the June sittings of parliament. With parliament not sitting again until the last week of August, the laws are unlikely to be passed before the election.”

However, Prime Minister Rudd responded to the article by stating he had “no advice to that effect.” He later said when questioned if the legislation would be introduced this year: “Look, can I ask that you put that to the relevant minister. I don’t have any other advice to what I put to you earlier.” (source: ZDNet.com.au) ZDNet Australia had already that morning questioned the office of the relevant minister, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, about the reported delay.

“The government is committed to the cyber-safety policy, which includes [internet service provider (ISP)] level filtering of refused classification content,” Conroy’s office replied in a statement.
“A public consultation on improved transparency measures has been held and the department is now working with other government agencies to consider the submissions and examine whether the ideas can be used to enhance the proposed accountability and transparency measures. The department is also continuing to consult ISPs on the implementation of ISP-level filtering.
“Once these processes are complete the legislation will be introduced into Parliament.”

These type of listless responses should be of little surprise to anyone who has a remote interest in the Australian political environment in the modern era. For one, it’s typical handballing from Government minister to Government minister, as if these people don’t speak to each other about issues of social & moral importance such as this one. The Australian makes a simple observation regarding Parliamentary sittings and neither the Prime Minister nor the Communications Minister can give any sort of indication to the public as to the issue raised by The Australian. That being, a date for when legislation will be tabled for a policy this Rudd Labor Party successfully campaigned with at the last Federal Election held on the 24th of November, 2007 – nearly 30 months ago.

Secondly, the Labor Party Government currently has insulation batts, a health plan, mining industry tax plan, and ironically enough, a National Broadband Plan to win over the public on and push through Parliament prior to a Federal Election sometime this year. They will quite simply run out of time to table legislation for this proposal before then. Lastly, the best way to appear to be acting on an issue without actually doing anything, is by setting up Committees and public consultations regarding the issue. And once they’re complete, by setting up more. It buys valuable (stalling) time, as well as giving the impression to the public that the Government cares about what the people have to say on the particular matter, and is doing all it can to achieve the best outcome possible.

Whether the above points are agreed upon or not, the likely delay of the tabling of internet censorship legislation until after the election does not mean that us Australians concerned about this proposal should sit on our hands until after we’ve been to the polls, which mainstream media sources have said is likely – but not necessarily – to be called by Labor sometime in September or October of this year. Quite the opposite; this is actually a dangerous period for the internet censorship issue, as it threatens to lay doment and forgotten about in the face of media-saturated issues such as health, global warming/climate change/the emissions trading scheme, the economy, and recently, a proposed 40% tax on mining industry profits. Furthermore, while this writer doubts both the tabling of legislation prior to any Federal Election and a 2011 election, the incumbent Labor Government does legally/constitutionally have until the 16th of April, 2011 to hold the next election.

Thankfully, the Australian grassroots anti-internet censorship campaign rolls on around the nation in the months of May & June.

Corbett Show interview begins leadup to May anti-web censorship activism

Just yesterday (the 5th of May), Melissa Short (pictured below), the Principal Petitioner of the official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives – which expresses to Parliament that the majority of Australians’ are in condemnation of the proposed legislation and asks the House to “repeal all legislative action concerning implementation of compulsory content filtering of the internet in Australia” – was interviewed by James Corbett (pictured below) of the Corbett Report. In the interview, James & Melissa discuss the nature of the internet censorship proposed in Australia, how far along the Government is in implementing the content filter, and why Melissa decided to pursue this avenue of dissent against the proposal. Download an MP3 file (11.6megabyes) of the interview and a link to the petition from this page: http://www.corbettreport.com/index.php?i=Documentation&ii=316

(This is the 2nd time James Corbett has dedicated a show or interview to the Australian Government’s mandatory ISP filtering plan, with the entirety of Episode #82 from April 2009 dedicated to the issue. It’s available free to download with documentation here.)

The petition itself was pre-approved for submission to the House of Representatives on January 13th of this year, and Melissa reports a steady stream of petition signatures having come her way since then, with an unknown amount being possibly sent directly to Parliament or yet to be mailed. A central part of the interview is the announcement of the final deadline date for sending in signatures to Melissa, which is the 29th of May, 2010. Tabling to the House is likely to be on June 21st, 2010, however, the Petitions Committee requires petition forms to be received in early June for the 21st of June tabling, so please have signed petition forms (one signature will do!) in the mail, sent to the address provided on this petition by May 29th at the very latest.

Also mentioned by Melissa in the interview is the upcoming protest in Melbourne against the proposed internet censorship plan, organised by Suryavanshi Cosmos. Occuring Saturday, May 22nd, 2010, the event will be held in Federation Square of Melbourne’s CBD and starts at 11:30am. A copy of the aforementioned petition will be available to sign at the event. Find further details about the event here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=100265633350951

On the back of this initiative shown, activists in Brisbane and Perth have joined in by organising a campaign on the same day to acquire signatures for the petition addressed to the House of Representatives. Details for Brisbane’s Day of Action can be found on Facebook and Meetup.com. Perth’s Day of Action will occur at midday on May 22nd, with the meeting place being out the front of the Fremantle Town Hall. Contact myself at wearechangewa@hotmail.com for further details. Please do not bring partisan material to hand out to the public, this is an action solely aimed at preventing internet censorship. Please do bring printed out sheets of the petition, a clipboard, a pen, cameras, respect for the Police, and a confident, polite, and informative approach to members of the public. Hope to see you on the 22nd of May!

Fremantle Town Hall, the meeting place on May 22nd at midday, for petition signature campaigning.

Recap of key points in the article:

  1. Josh Meney’s provocative anti-Australian internet censorship poster.
  2. Australian Labor Government unlikely to table legislation before the next Federal Election, but legally have until mid-April to hold the next election. The campaign against internet censorship in Australia rolls on.
  3. Melissa Short is interviewed by James Corbett of the Corbett Report on the 5th of May, regarding the soon-to-be-tabled Official paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives.
  4. Anti-Internet Censorship actions planned for May 22nd, 2010 in Melbourne, Brisbane (Facebook/Meetup), and Perth (read last paragraph of the article).
Contact the author of this article: wearechangewa@hotmail.com

TEAR DOWN THE (FIRE)WALL!!!

By Andrew Middleton

A parody of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece, The Trial:

The Crown will plainly show

The prisoner who now stands before you,

Was caught red-handed searching websites…

Searching websites of an almost “inappropriate” nature!

This will not do…

As was first announced way back in 2007 and quickly dubbed “the Great Australian Firewall,” the Australian Government – with the support of certain minor parties & independents – is going ahead with plans to mandatorily filter the internet for all Australians to exclude “inappropriate” material, or what has now been refined to as “refused classification” content. This disturbing development positions Australia on the World stage as following in the footsteps of countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iran, and Cuba, in mandatorily limiting the content its citizens can view on the internet. Examples from those countries show filtered material to often include political content not favourable towards the political establishment. Of course, whichever the country, whatever the political system:

Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

View Labor’s Minister for Broadband, Communications, & the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy’s Media Release on the matter here.

The WeAreChange movement opposes and resists internet censorship around the World, just as internet censorship is being planned or implemented around the World. Here is a World map displaying roughly the different levels of internet censorship implemented, recent to mid-2009:

Australians – just like citizens of all “developed,” or “Western” nations – have seen over the past decade (or so) previously sacrosanct freedoms and rights be diminished and Government size, spending, and control increase in an emerging new world order. It could be said Australia’s blushes are somewhat spared by the fact measures to limit internet freedom are also being proposed by the Governments’ of our “close allies,” the United States & the United Kingdom. But none of the citizens in these countries have their access to the greatest tool of resistance to the new world order – the Free Internet – in as grave and imminent danger to fall under Government control and be restricted Chinese-style, as Australians do. So we call out to you, Australian citizens, to stand up for your country, to stand up for your own independence from Government, and to stand up for our and future generations ability to access a Free Internet, in this hour of great necessity and great change. In this way, we can be a real leader on the World stage.

Matthew Bellamy, Frontman of the world-wide acclaimed & chart topping progressive rock band MUSE:

“History fascinates me. Politics fascinates me. And the potential of the internet absolutely amazes me. Ever since I was a kid I’ve questioned why the world is the way that it is. Who’s in charge? Who makes things happen? I’ve read enough in the past couple of years to believe that we are due for great change. I think the internet will be the means of that change.”
(Source: “Leading the Resistance,” The National Newspaper. 17 September 2009)

Thankfully, many Australians are already standing up. We are very grateful for the work done on the East Coast of our beautiful country, to set up a petition against this measure that, if filled out correctly, will be submissible to Federal Parliament (unlike the widely circulated online petition against internet censorship, see below). Please read more and download the petition here:

http://www.thecrowhouse.com/savethenet.html

______________________________________________________

From the site. Due to the governments plan to go ahead with imposing compulsory internet censorship on every Australian despite heavy opposition whether it be from the public or experts or businesses or online gamers, we are being ignored, this petition has been prepared, and will be tabled in Parliament to officially express our condemnation of the forthcoming legislation that imposes and infringes on our human rights and effects every user’s experience online.

Every signatures counts, as a democratic country we have the right and therefore the responsibility to resist censorship. Please let me know if you are planning on collecting a large amount of signatures, please email me and introduce yourself, there may also be others I can connect you with in your area that are also passionate about helping to collect signatures for the petition.

Melissa Short
Melsy29@live.com.au

To sign this petition, please click below to download and print out, there is room for up to 4 signatures. The mailing address is on the petition.

Download Petition Version 1

To sign the petition and help collect other peoples signatures, please click below to download and print out, there is room for up to 14 signatures. The mailing address is on the petition. (For more than 14 signatures, print the page several times)

Download Petition Version 2

This petition has been prepared inline with the House of representative rules and is in compliance with the standing orders that apply to petitions.

The House does not accept petitions in electronic form and petitions must be on paper.

Each signature on the petition must be made by the person signing in his or her own handwriting.

Every signature must be written on a page bearing the request part of the terms of the petition.

Signatures must not be copied, pasted or transferred onto the petition.

______________________________________________________

Please direct all enquires you have about the nature, wording, and format of the petition to Melissa Short (Melsy29@live.com.au).

In acquiring signatures for this petition, we urge you to follow the guidelines and rules set above and to keep the petition signatures and pages as clear and clean as possible. Not doing so, just slightly, may make a page or pages not submissible. So please make sure you’re clear to the person signing the petition what is required of them, and I’d use a pen, not pencil. Submission date is not as yet set, but we will not have long into February before needing to put them in the post as it’s early February when Federal Parliament resumes. So please print this petition out now and get asking for people’s signatures, even if you can only get your family to sign it, that will do! WeAreChange Western Australia will be happy to receive your completed forms and cover the costs of sending them back over east as one whole bunch (contact us about that: wearechangewa@hotmail.com).

Some ideas for places where to post the petition and to bring awareness to this issue are politicians & political parties (tips on writing to Ministers. If you feel up to it please try), mainstream & alternative radio (please mention the petition!), community noticeboards, universities, internet cafes, and of course, Australia Day events (there’s one such event planned in Queensland). Please discuss ideas regarding this petition and resisting the internet filter on our Forum here: http://www.wearechangewa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=335

An update on the nationally planned protests against the mandatory internet filter, they have been rescheduled for the 6th of March, 2010. You can see the reasoning given here. However, WeAreChange Western Australia will announce shortly a Truth Action to garner signatures for the petition and spread awareness about this issue. Keep up-to-date with the latest news, meetups & events relating to WeAreChange WA via the Forums: http://www.wearechangewa.com/forums

Latest news, the Australian Government officially opens its new Cyber Security Operations Centre, and there is a Labor Party Senator AGAINST a mandatory internet filter! That being, Kate Lundy. Check out the article here (free registration required to read whole article), and e-mail Kate Lundy here: senator.lundy@aph.gov.au