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June 2017

Marise "No Idea" Payne on The Ideas Boom and Innovation Agenda

The Agenda

Extraordinary technological change is transforming how we live, work, communicate and pursue good ideas. We need to embrace new ideas in innovation and science, and harness new sources of growth to deliver the next age of economic prosperity in Australia. The National Innovation and Science Agenda is an important step in the right direction.

Innovation is important to every sector of the economy – from ICT to healthcare, education to agriculture, and defence to transport. Innovation keeps us competitive. It keeps us at the cutting edge. It creates jobs. And it will keep our standard of living high.

The National Innovation and Science Agenda  will drive smart ideas that create business growth, local jobs and global success. The Agenda includes initiatives worth $1.1 billion over four years.

The Challenge?

Answer Tony Abbott's questions about Nuclear Submarines.

The response?

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The Bullshit from The Chairman


Mini-Me The Mincing Poodle

Yassmin Abdel Magied is traumatised after Australia got its hate on for Julia Gillard and "The Face of all that is Evil"

Traumatised Celebrity Muslim Yassmin Abdel Magied of the Perpetual Islamic Martyrs is back on net.

After a couple of months offline (healing), the self-proclaimed "face of all that is evil" Magied was pumping out the Twitter rants late last night. 

Australia has apparently been getting its hate on.  I don't know what it means either - but it seems to fit the martyrdom thing.

And it's not just Yassmin - apparently Julia Gillard went through "it" too.

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The break and mentoring haven't done Ms Magied much good.

The Guardian overnight published the lengthy rant below (yours to cut out and keep).

It starts out on free speech (hers, not yours if you want to criticise her) - and gets weirder and weirder and weirder.

Apparently, our parliament cannot represent Australians.  

Statistically impossible.  Urgent action needed.

Abdel-the-engineer (can we fix it) has the data to prove it. 

  • Women are 50% of the population, but only 32% of  parliament.
  • 2.5M live under the poverty line - we should have 25 busted-backside parliamentarians and we have none.
  • 18% of Australians are disabled -  so we should have 42 disabled MPs
  • 2.8% of us are Indigenous - so we should have 7 indigenes in parliament, and we only have 5
  • 4% of us were born in China or India - so according to Abdel, we should have 9 in parliament.  But we have zero!

For Australia to prosper, free speech must be extended to all of us

When I criticised representation in politics, Eric Abetz suggested I move to an Arab dictatorship. Yet a deep malaise exists in society and we need to talk about it

Australia has all the ingredients for a flourishing, harmonious and inclusive society. We have incredible monetary wealth, with the longest streak of economic growth of any developed nation. We are home to the oldest continuous living civilisation, the source of millennia of wisdom. Our natural landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful, and, despite restrictive migratory policies until the mid-70s, we have quickly made up for lost time. According to the 2016 census, 49% of the population is either born overseas or has at least one parent born overseas. We are the envy of nations worldwide, and rightly so.

Despite this good fortune, however, we are deeply disillusioned with our leadership and institutions. This is not news, and yet when I pointed out the lack of representation at an ANU panel last week, the reaction was nonsensical.

Senator Eric Abetz issued a statement declaring, “If Ms Abdel-Magied thinks our system of government is so bad perhaps she should stop being a drain on the taxpayer and move to one of these Arab dictatorships.”

It seems bizarre that former cabinet ministers would demand that I leave the country for highlighting what is agreed upon by many, including former prime minister, Tony Abbott, who this week released a manifesto to “make Australia work again”.

Voter turnout at the last election was the lowest since compulsory voting started in 1925. Poll after poll shows the population’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the Edelman’s 2017 trust survey indicated only 11% of Australians think the system is working. Millions of Australians today feel like their perspectives are not heard, not valued and not respected by our parliament and democratic institutions. So what needs to change?

We could start by being better represented. That is the role of our parliament, but it currently falls short. While women make up a little over 50% of the population, they make up only 32% of the national parliament.

Two and a half million people in Australia live under the poverty line. If that were embodied in parliament, 25 of our of representatives would have had the experience of being a poor Australian.

Eighteen per cent of the population has a disability. If that were represented, it would mean 42 members of parliament or senators would have a disability.

According to the 2016 census, at least 2.8% of the population identifies as Indigenous. That would look like seven representatives in parliament, and we are still only at five.

Almost 4% of Australian residents are born in either China or India. If that were represented in our parliament, that would be nine people. There is not a single senator or member of parliament born in China or India, and only two with either Chinese or Indian heritage.

This lack of representation is no accident. It is, in part, a reflection of the deeper malaise. People no longer believe that politics is a force for positive change, and are therefore disengaging from the system entirely. Those who are interested in improving society are forgoing politics for alternative careers. They’re not running for office, they’re running their own market places, and operating in parallel realities. This means the talent pool entering parliament has shrunk, the world view of people in power has narrowed, and we have been left with the homogenous and disconnected leadership we have today.

We can do better, and therein lies the impetus for systemic change. Fortunately, the conversation is well under way, as demonstrated by four (wealthy, white) men only last weekend. Leading the charge is Richard Walsh, the author of Reboot: A Democracy Makeover to Empower Australia’s Voters, who is calling for the abolition of the Senate. Walsh is joined by the successful venture capitalist Mark Carnegie, Transfield Holdings and newDemocracy Foundation boss Luca Belgiorno-Nettis and property developer and publisher Morry Schwartz in arguing for radical change to our parliamentary democracy. It is worth noting that these men have profited from the very system they are seeking to disrupt. Thus far, there has been no statement from Abetz requesting these men move to an Arab dictatorship.

Disruption requires difference. Yet all too often when someone outside the establishment contributes to the discourse, they find themselves howled down and ruthlessly delegitimised. This happens not based on the strength of their ideas but on their gender, race, religion, sexuality, class or any other identity that sits outside the accepted norm. 

That is not good enough. It is hypocritical, and a complete waste of the talent that we have in this country. The discussion needs to be open to and driven by all Australians, not only ones who look the same or who occupy elite positions of power in society. How do we expect anyone to be less disillusioned if they are not welcome to even contribute to the conversation?

This is beyond simply saying we need direct representation of the population, although that is incredibly important. This is saying that we are not taking advantage of the spectacular array of opinions, perspectives and experiences within our nation, and that is stopping us from realising our full potential.

For public debate to improve, Australia must be a place where freedom of speech is understood to apply to all equally. Where we operate from a foundation of respect and where we debate the issue, not the individual. This is uncomfortable. However, we must not shy away from the uncomfortable. Unless all of us – including our leaders – lean into that discomfort and listen to voices from outside the current blinkered corridors of power, nothing will change.

Australia, we are the lucky country. We have no excuse not to be the best.

Gillard: “Six men a day taking their own lives.” Now ask yourself why…Corrine Barraclough writing in The Spectator

You can read Corrine Barraclough's article in full at The Spectator.  
Today is Jeff Kennett's last day as Chairman of Beyond Blue. I've received no response from Mr Kennett on the evidence about Gillard I sent him (and published) a month or so ago.
Gillard formally takes up the role tomorrow.  What a travesty.

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Gillard: “Six men a day taking their own lives.” Now ask yourself why…

29 June 2017 

The Guardian Australia has published an extract from Julia Gillard’s John Curtin prime ministerial library’s anniversary lecture.

Stay with me…

She talks about John Curtin’s life as a wartime leader. She says his “mental health journey resonates today with the work of Beyond Blue, particularly when it comes to men’s mental health”. Remember she is now chair of the mental health organisation.

“Pressure to conform means too many men still bottle things up, trying to go it alone – as Curtin did – which increases the likelihood of their depression or anxiety going unrecognised and untreated,” she says. “We know that untreated depression increases the risk of suicide, and to some degree, this contributes to the difference in number of men and women taking their own lives.”

Off she trots down the garden path about men trying to pretend to be strong while slipping into depression.

Isn’t it absolutely bizarre that Gillard and politicians still refuse to join these dots?


One of the first priorities for anyone suffering from depression is to work out the root cause. Yes, in Curtin’s life, psychological battles would understandably have been exacerbated as a wartime leader. The trigger for his struggles was, possibly, a product of his circumstance.

She has recognised that.

When will she, and all of our political leaders, start to stand up and recognise the societal factors that are pushing men into dark depression?

It doesn’t just magically descend.

The fight that men alienated from their children are battling in the gender-biased Family Court, that Gillard herself set ablaze, is daily. They are fighting an invisible war. Why do you continue to ignore it?

If you care about mental health and depression, you must acknowledge what is pushing people into such mental turmoil.

You must acknowledge anti-men messaging and policy is doing damage.

Chattering away about “stigma” is not addressing the real problem.

Gillard said, “Untreated depression is one of the most significant risk factors in suicide and in Australia in 2015, there were 3.027 deaths: more than eight a day. Of those deaths 75 per cent were men – that’s six men a day taking their own lives.”

Yes, Julia.

Now, your next focus is to address why.


Tony Abbott's well researched speech on Australia's submarine fleet

I listened to Tony's speech live yesterday - and I was shocked.   Shocked and more than a bit worried.

It's full of data, facts and figures.  And what he says is frightening.

Tony is critical of his own time as head of government and with good reason.  We are compromising Australia's security.

The points he raises are so important that there's no place here for protecting reputations, barracking for a side etc.

It's tragic to see most of the reporting on Tony' speech totally ignore the contents of it.  It's reported as political shit-stirring by the empty heads and barrackers.  It's far from that.

Let me know what you think.


And here's some useful commentary from Major General Jim Molan after Tony's speech.


And here's some non-useful commentary from one of Australia's experts on being a woman, Marise Payne, ""Australia currently lacks the qualified personnel, experience, infrastructure, training facilities and regulatory systems required to design, construct, operate and maintain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines."

As read AJ noted earlier "Gosh, if Australia "doesn't have the regulatory systems" better not, then".  Great Defence Minister that gal! 

This from Fairfax.

Marise Payne rebukes Tony Abbott, as former PM goes nuclear on submarine



A fresh round of Coalition infighting has broken out, with Defence Minister Marise Payne sharply rebuking Tony Abbott for suggesting Australia should consider buying nuclear-powered submarines.

And Labor has played down Mr Abbott's suggestion the opposition could offer bipartisan support for a nuclear submarines program, arguing such a move was unrealistic.

In his second major intervention into policy debate this week - which again placed him at odds with Turnbull government policy - Mr Abbott said Australia should consider acquiring nuclear-powered vessels from the United States, Britain or France.

The Turnbull government announced in April 2016 it would acquire 12 conventionally-powered submarines at a cost of $50 billion from French company DCNS. The boats are based on a French nuclear submarine, but will be redesigned to allow for diesel-electric propulsion, and are not expected to enter service until the 2030s

Senator Payne slapped down Mr Abbott's call to reshape its program, suggesting it was hypocritical and the Turnbull government's decision to go with DCNS delivered on the Abbott government's so-called Competitive Evaluation Process to purchase submarines.

"The process delivered exactly what the Abbott government intended and that is exactly what the Turnbull government is now delivering," she said.


"Australia currently lacks the qualified personnel, experience, infrastructure, training facilities and regulatory systems required to design, construct, operate and maintain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines."

The usually media-shy Senator Payne is a leading Liberal moderate and her decision to fire back at the former prime minister underscores the tensions between the moderate and conservative wing of the government, which re-ignited this week over same-sex marriage.

Earlier, Mr Abbott had told the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney that "not more robustly challenging the nuclear 'no-go' mindset is probably the biggest regret I have from my time as PM".

"The US already provides Australia with its most advanced aircraft and tanks and its most sophisticated submarine torpedo weapons system," he said. "We have nothing to lose from starting a discussion on this issue with our allies and friends – Britain and France – as well as primarily with the US."

Mr Abbott had suggested the nuclear-powered submarines could initially be based at the US base in Guam while Australia built up its domestic nuclear skills, currently limited to the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney, over about 15 years.

Senator Payne said developing the domestic capacity to service nuclear submarines would take "far longer than a decade" and, in the short term, there were significant disadvantages.

"The advantages of acquiring nuclear-powered submarines would be lost without the capacity to sustain them in Australia, particularly if we were required to support the submarines in Hawaii or Guam, noting [the] time required to reach and return from these locations for maintenance."

Mr Abbott's suggestion Labor could offer its bipartisan support for the idea received short shrift from opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles.

"Labor is committed to an Australian build of the submarines in South Australia," he said. "Given we dragged the Liberals to this position, providing bipartisanship around this is our focus. Australia doesn't have a domestic nuclear industry so this just isn't realistic."

The Turnbull government has already privately discussed converting the Shortfin Barracuda into a nuclear-powered vessel in the future, but experts have warned it could take up to 15 years to have the domestic capacity to service the vessels.

Mr Abbott pointed out Indonesia, Singapore, India and Vietnam are expanding their submarine fleets, South Korea has 14 vessels already and Japan 19 vessels, while Russia and China's Pacific fleets dwarf Australia's and include nuclear-powered boats.

"Our new subs are supposed to be "regionally superior" – including, presumably, to the sharply increasing numbers of nuclear-powered attack submarines that are based in our region," he said.

This is not just a trial for Pell and the church. It is a test of our institutions, our justice system and the culture of our civil society. Paul Kelly in The Australian today.

1494732392658In this momentous event, it is not just Cardinal George Pell who is on trial — it is the integrity of Victoria Police, the justice system and our capacity to deliver a fair trial.

This decision by Victoria Police comes after an unprecedented and manic campaign against Pell, leaks to the media, vicious character assaults in the mainstream media and grave doubts about the way police have conducted their inquiries.

 This is not just a trial for Pell and the church. It is a test of our institutions, our justice system and the culture of our civil society.



That's Paul Kelly making some important points in The Australian today.

As Paul notes, Victoria Police made the decision to charge Cardinal Pell - not the OPP.  That's tremendously significant.

Here's the timeline in the Pell matter

  • February 2016: Herald Sun reveals Victoria Police investigating Cardinal Pell
  • July 2016: Victoria Police send brief of evidence regarding Cardinal Pell to Office of Public Prosecutions but it was returned with no recommendations.
  • February 2017: Victoria Police hand second brief of evidence to Office of Public Prosecutions
  • May 2017: OPP return brief on Cardinal Pell

It's significant that in May this year ABC journalist Louise Milligan's book on Pell was published.  It receive widespread coverage in the ABC and Fairfax press.

Milligan interviewed two men, Lyndon Monument and Damian Dignan, who claimed they were sexually assaulted by Cardinal Pell, then a priest, at Ballarat's Eureka Pool in the late 1970's.

Milligan wrote:

"One of the things that has helped George Pell and his defenders to bat off or gloss over the allegations of Monument and Dignan is the seeming ambiguity of the behaviour, depending on how it is cast".

"It's the notion that this was simply 'horseplay' or 'a bit of rough and tumble' and that Monument and Dignan, damaged men, had simply misinterpreted what was going on.

"The story of [the choirboys] has no such ambiguity. If these allegations are true, they point to utter, sinful, hypocrisy."

Milligan's book details the testimony of one alleged victim, a man now aged in his 30s, and the family of a second alleged victim, who died from a drug overdose in 2014.  

According to the book, the mother of the second alleged victim suspected her son had been sexually abused and asked him at least twice before his death. He told her he had not been.

But after he died she asked her son's friend, the first alleged victim.

"I asked him if my son was a victim and he said, 'Yes'." The mother was told by the friend that Cardinal Pell allegedly abused both boys.

Milligan writes that the first man reported the allegations to Victoria Police's SANO Taskforce and the mother of the deceased man also gave a statement to investigators.

Victoria Police confirm Pell has been charged with "historical" offences.  That suggests that the evidence against him is unlikely to be DNA or other forensic material from a crime scene examination.  The evidence is apparently based on the statements of the persons who allege Pell assaulted them.

Cardinal Pell vigorously denies the allegations.


Pell's been interviewed by police.  He presumably denied the allegations against him when police interviewed him.  But despite the absence of a clear go-ahead from the Office of Public Prosecutions, Victoria Police have made the decision to charge Cardinal Pell and put him before the court.

Compare and contrast that with the treatment meted out to the complainant Kathy who alleged Bill Shorten raped her.

Kathy was and is emphatic in alleging Shorten raped her.  Shorten denies the allegation.

Police put a brief of evidence to the OPP based on Kathy's allegations.  It's analogous to the Pell matter - but compare and contrast the result.

Here's the ABC's report.

Senior Labor Party figure will not face criminal charges over alleged rape in 1980s

Thu 21 Aug 2014, 9:32am

A senior figure in the Labor Party will not face criminal charges over an alleged rape dating back to the 1980s.

Victorian police have confirmed that the allegation has been investigated but they will not be proceeding with criminal charges.

"Investigating police sought advice from the Office of Public Prosecutions, which advised there was no reasonable prospect of conviction," a statement from Victoria Police said.

"All parties have been notified that Victoria Police will not be proceeding with criminal charges."

The alleged victim, who posted the claims on a Facebook page late last year, said that the sexual assault took place at a Young Labor camp near Geelong in the 1980s.

At the time the allegation became public, lawyers for the man released a statement saying the claims were "unsubstantiated" and "absolutely without foundation".

Broadcaster Neil Mitchell also revealed then that his program "had contact with the woman raising the allegations, and she made it clear she wanted to speak to police".








***Please check against delivery***

Late last year I learned that a claim had been made about me, going back to when I was nineteen.

It was made on social media, when I was elected Opposition Leader.

I will not go into details, except to say that the allegation was untrue and abhorrent.

The allegation was made by someone I knew briefly at that time.

There is absolutely no basis for the claim.

The claim has now been thoroughly and rigorously investigated by police, as is entirely proper.

I fully cooperated to clear my name. And that is what I have done.

I freely answered all questions the police asked of me.

Now the police investigation has concluded, I can make this statement.

This has been deeply distressing for my family.

I am thankful for the love and support of Chloe, and the support of my staff and parliamentary colleagues.

Others who were aware of the investigation have acted with the utmost integrity by leaving the police to do their job.

The police have now concluded the investigation.

The decision speaks for itself.

It is over. 

I have no intention of making any further comment.



Paul Kelly's observations about the justice system - particularly in Victoria - aren't confined to the Pell matter.  There are serious questions for authorities to answer about decisions in the AWU scandal and other complaints against senior politicians.

Our institutions, our justice system and the culture of our civil society are - as Paul Kelly noted - being tested.

But it's not just in the Pell case - there's plenty more cause for concern and It's up to us to speak out about it.