ANOTHER brilliant piece of journalism from Nafeez Ahmed. Originally sighted on MOTHERBOARD.
Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commission...
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#end phase, #America, #empire, #signs
Is America reaching its end phase ?
Empires dont last forever . America empire may be now reaching its end phase.
American Congress is now in the hands of half-citizens (each congress member with dual citizenship has only half-loyalty to America) and is under tremendous pressure from lobbyists.
Congress and Supreme Court are fighting hard to take-over Presidential power: Supreme Court tries to incapacitate Executive power (as granted by the Constitution) on many cases then gives Congress the final says on those cases.
American politicians are now denouncing populism of their own President Donald Trump and of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban . They are
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Newstead Landcare are delighted to have Dr Kath Handasyde from The University of Melbourne up to speak at our AGM this Thursday 18th October at Newstead Community Centre. The presentation on the ecology and behaviour of ECHIDNAS will begin at 8pm and all are welcome. A gold coin donation will help cover costs.
Echidnas are one of two Australian monotreme species the egg-laying mammals. Echidnas are our most widely distributed mammals, occurring in all regions of Australia. They are classified as myrmecophages, feeding extensively on social insects, such as ants and termites. These are a rich and abundant food resource for which echidnas have clear adaptations, such as a long narrow snout, sticky tongue and powerful digging abilities. Echidnas are one of the relatively small number of Australian mammals that undergo hibernation. Come along and find out much more about these extraordinary animals.
Echidna photographed by Patrick Kavanagh of Strangways
The FOBIF Creatures photographic exhibition hosted by Togs Place in Lyttleton Street opened last Friday. It will run till 29 November. There are 24 photos which have been selected from the 125 photos that were sent into FOBIF. Once again thanks to everyone who participated. The photos are online here. We would also like to thank the owners of Togs, Elissa and Jason, and the cafe staff, for their support in holding this exhibition.
Some highlights include the endangered Swift Parrot by Debbie Worland, a group of perching Juvenile Scarlet Robins by Albert Wright and a Red Wattlebird bathing by Vivienne Hamilton. The rest show photos of local fauna including a macro shot of a Grasshopper Nymph by Patrick Kavanagh, a watchful Koala and a curious Yellow-footed Antichinus by Damian Kelly. We encourage everyone to go along and have a look at this impressive show by local photographers.
Yesterday was a perfect morning to be out in the garden, and not just for birds. Thanks to Geoff Park for giving us heaps of information about our local birds, their habitat and how we can make our gardens more attractive to them. Our two minutes silence quieted eveyone, birds included! But in between we Continue reading Birder in Residence
Union leaders Karen Batt CPSU Victoria Sally McManus Michele ONeil Troy Gray ETU Electrical Trades Union of Australia, Victorian Branch and Lori-Anne Sharp Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, launching new TV ads about the Change The Rules nationwide rallies.
Union leaders Karen Batt CPSU Victoria Sally McManus Michele O'Neil Troy Gray ETU Electrical Trades Union of Australia, Victorian Branch and Lori-Anne Sharp Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation launching new TV ads about the Change The Rules nationwide rallies.
Posted by Australian Unions on Saturday, October 6, 2018
Everyone deserves a ob they can count on. And no-one deserves to have their hard-earned wages stolen by their boss.
We want the Victorian government to add a clause to the Crimes Act (1958) which makes deliberate, dishonest wage theft a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment.
Daniel Andrews has committed to introduce wage theft laws. Now were calling on Matthew Guy to step up and protect young workers by making the same commitment.
Right now, some businesses are exploiting young workers. Instead of contributing to our community, theyre stealing from vulnerable young people, and conditioning them for a life of exploitation.
I was one of those young workers. I worked for a year at a cafe in Camberwell, just outside of the Melbourne CBD. During my time there, I was classified as a part-time worker. That means I should have had regular shifts and access to paid annual and sick leave but instead I was treated as a casual, at the cafes beck and call, and had no access to paid leave.
Over $8000 in wages and $700 in superannuation were withheld from me by my boss in just a year and it took months of negotiations and a review of my full roster history to get the wages I claimed back paid to me.
Im just one of thousands. Wage theft is an epidemic. At least a fifth of young workers have reported that their hard-earned wages have been stolen from them in scams; they are paid for fewer hours than they work, are illegally denied correct pay, have their superannuation stolen or their accrued leave withheld.
All these forms of wage theft are against the law, but they still happen. Bosses know that theyll only receive fines or warnings if they get caught- and that theyre not likely to get caught.
A series of audits by Fair Work in 2016 revealed that almost 58% of hospitality businesses (cafes and restaurants) and 39% of retail businesses were stealing wages. Thats potentially hundreds of thousands of cases of wage theft! But only a fraction of these cases ever end up in court. It shows that the current legal system is stacked in favour of bad employers who choose to underpay workers to increase their profits.
Dr Tim Jones, senior lecturer in history at La Trobe University, said:
Preventing Harm, Promoting Justice calls for action by governments, the health sector and religious communities to better respond to people experiencing conflict between their gender identity or sexual orientation and their beliefs.
The report reveals the immense trauma and grief participants felt at the prospect of having to choose between their faith or their gender and sexuality, both intimate and important parts of themselves. The psychological and spiritual trauma experienced by our participants, at their loss of faith, or their struggle to be accepted by their communities, was devastating, added Dr Jones.
Anna Brown, director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said:
The report provides a roadmap for future reform, with recommendations directed at state and federal governments and the health sector.
We need stronger laws and support for survivors but also education about the harm caused by the cultural ideas and messaging prevalent within faith communities. We particularly urge governments across the country to respond to the acute vulnerability of children and young people in religious communities, said Ms Brown.
October 2018 COVER: HOTHAM STREET LADIES,
On Disappointment (detail) 2018. HOME made GOOD:
Christmas at The Johnston Collection 2018 | 19, East Melbourne
(VIC), 1 October 2018 5 February 2019 johnstoncollection.org hothamstreetladies.com
Paul E. MASON (b. 1947), Baudins Costal
Profile Reliquary 2018, pewter, wood, resin, Kimberly coastal
rocks, diorite, aluminium, gold leaf, 61x20x26cm. PAUL E MASON:
LOOKING FOR BAUDIN 21st Century Reliquaries Encounter c.1800 Terra
Australis, Ararat Gallery TAMA, Town Hall, Vincent Street,
Ararat (VIC), 19 October 2018 20 January 2019 araratgallerytama.com.au
Unknown artist (Leipzig Germany) after Gustave
MUTZEL (b. 1839, d. 1893), Australische fauna, 1894.
Chromolithograph on paper. Art Gallery of Ballarat, gift of Ted and
Gina Gregg, 2013. Animalia Australis, Ararat Gallery TAMA,
Town Hall, Vincent Street, Ararat (VIC), 19 October 2018 20 January
George BALDESSIN, Acrobat 1964, etching a...
Kaldor Public Art Projects Celebrates
HALF A CENTURY IN THE PUBLIC EYE
Art Gallery of New South Wales
until 16 February 2020
Half a Century in the Public Eye, is an exhibition created by acclaimed British artist Michael Landy and presented as a collaboration between Kaldor Public Art Projects and the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW). The exhibition surveys the rich history of Kaldor Public Art Projects through original artworks, archival materials and re-presentations of past projects, from Christo and Jeanne-Claudes Wrapped Coast (1969), to Jeff Koons flower Puppy (1995), Marina Abramovis In Residence (2015) and Jonathan Jones barrangal dyara (skin and bones) (2016). The exhibition revisits each of the past Kaldor Public Art Projects and brings them together for the first time.
Kaldor Public Art Projects presented its first project in 1969 with Christo and Jeanne- Claudes iconic Wrapped Coast One Million Square Feet, Little Bay, Sydney, and has since presented 32 public art projects, which have transformed the cultural landscape of Australia.
The first organisation of its type anywhere in the world, Kaldor Public Art Projects has helped redefine the possibilities for public art in Australia and internationally, and has had a profound influence on the way that Australians see and experience contemporary art.
We have worked with the worlds leading artists to present new works which are anchored in the local context, challenging perceptions of familiar or forgotten public spaces, and transforming the way that Australian audiences experience art, said Mr John Kaldor, AO.
Kaldor Public Art Projects will also premiere a major artist project in the first half of 2019, presented free to the public in Sydney. Further details of activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the organisation will be announced early in 2019.
A rule to remember whenever youre camping in the Australian bush (or anywhere really) is to pack away and secure your food at night so that it doesnt attract animals.
Its a rule I was acutely reminded of during a recent trip hiking the Grampians Peaks Trail, leaving me with a large, chewed tear in the floor of my much loved Macpac Minaret tent.
Ive always thought packing my food away into plastic bags and keeping them in my tent was enough to deter animals. In my many years of camping around Australia Ive never had a problem.
But this trip, it was a problem.
At some stage during the first night at the Bugiga hikers camp, something chewed its way into my tent and got into my dinner bag, getting at one of my dried meals and a block of fancy Koko Black chocolate given to me for Fathers Day.
I must have been tired because I slept through it and didnt realise what had happened until I was packing up in the morning after breakfast and discovered the hole in my tent.
I was devastated. Ive written before how much I love my tent and how its served me well on many trips in fair weather and foul.
It felt like Id let a good friend down.
I patched up the hole on both sides with first aid strapping tape and thankfully the weather was good so I didnt need to worry about rain.
Once back in Melbourne I got the hole patched and, hopefully, its good to go for my next trip.
And for that next trip Ill be investing in some decent bags to stash my food in and putting those into my backpack which Ill also line with a big plastic bag.
Lesson learned.Click to view slideshow.
Anyway, the Grampians Peaks Trail was okay. Nice scenery, interesting rock formations, easy to follow track. But it never felt particularly remote as the views included roads and the town of Halls Gap. There were also plenty of tourists and school groups doing day walks on the trails so it never felt like wilderness.
I started at Halls Gap, following the Grampians Peaks Trail signs up Stony Creek past Venus Baths and Splitters Falls into Wonderland. It was steady, but not challenging, climbing to get up onto the mountain range. Walking through the Grand...
Above : Neo-Nazi security worker Stuart Von Moger follows hot on the heels of His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. Heh. Following on from revelations concerning the neo-Nazi infiltration of the Young Nationals in NSW, a small contingent of local Continue reading
On Thursday, 21 May 1992 Julia Gillard was in Melbourne. Her office was in Melbourne. Ms Gillard claims that on 21 May 1992 she provided important legal advice to her purported arms-length client Ralph Blewitt. This is the document through which Ms Gillard claims to have transmitted the advice to...
Maldon Folk Festival is an annual family-friendly folk festival in Maldon, Victoria (near Bendigo) - a long weekend of quality family entertainment to suit all age groups and tastes. The festival hosts an abundance of music, dance and theatre, such as Folk Irish Ceilidh bush gospel and blues music, dance, musical theatre, poetry, interactive workshops, song-writing competitions, and are complemented by various activities around the Maldon township. COME ALONG TO THE 2009 FESTIVAL. Visit the website below for more details or to book. maldonfolkfestival DOT com Maldon Folk Festival on MySpace: myspace DOT com/maldonfolkfestival Video produced by GoldfieldStories
Over the past fortnight the local skies have hosted healthy flocks of woodswallows. White-browed and Masked Woodswallows are migrants from northern Australia and return every year, although their numbers can fluctuate significantly. This year so far Id say numbers are about average, with most flocks in the order of 40-50 individuals, with White-browed Woodswallows outnumbering their beautiful masked companions about 10:1. At the Rise and Shine on Friday evening they were sharing the skies with a pair of Little Eagles.
Last night Warwick Smith, Senior economist at Per Capita was awarded the EJ Craigie Writing Award for his piece The big spending Victorian state budget is built on Australias worst tax. Warwick quickly laid out the damaging effects of stamp duties and then moved on to show another innovative ACT policy move, with the transition 
Now that the concrete part of the house is as good as over, since returning from my Queensland visit Ive been concentrating on the carpentry side of things. Ive put a lot of thought into doing this, more often than not in the middle of the night when I least want to do so! I even put a lot of thought into useless methods.
But first, I had to finish cleaning up the mess left behind when I went troppo, and the amount of scrap concrete caused by the suppliers completely miscalculating how much was needed to core fill my blocks is truly staggering. I now have a pile of rubble behind the house 5m long and a metre high that will end up as drainage, but honestly, even considering half the pile might be air, there must be $400 worth of waste there. Not impressed.
My first big task is erecting the centre column, as it will support the beams that finish the...
Anyone following this blog will know I bang on about Limits to Growth constantly just click on the Limits to Growth text in the issues cloud in the right hand side bar of this blog, and you will see what I mean.. One of the most read entry on this blog is an interview with Dennis Meadows in which he says Theres nothing we can do, closely followed by Graham Turners most recent studies showing the CoRs standard run is bang on target for realisation.
Now along comes this fascinating video that apparently made the news on our own trusted ABC in 1973 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation if youre not from here!) which, in my internet circles at least, is surfacing constantly.
I love its historic implications, and the way it shows how crude computing power could still come up with the goods. and also shows how we did absolutely nothing to stave off disaster.
World One the name of the computer showed that by 2040 there would be a global collapse if the expansion of the population and industry was to continue at the current levels.. I frankly doubt this wont happen by 2030.
2020 is the first milestone envisioned by World One. We now have less than two years folks. Thats when the quality of life is supposed to drop dramatically. The broadcaster presented this scenario that will lead to the demise of large numbers of people:
At around 2020, the condition of the planet becomes highly critical. If we do nothing about it, the quality of life goes down to zero. Pollution becomes so seriously it will start to kill people, which in turn will cause the population to diminish, lower than it was in 1900. At this stage, around 2040 to 2050, civilised life as we know it on this planet will cease to exist.
Alexander King, the then-leader of the Club of Rome, evaluated the programs results to also mean that nation-states will lose their sovereignty, forecasting a New World Order with corporations managing everything.
Sovereignty of nations is no longer absolute,...
One of the many things I see on TV news material that makes me shout at the screen is economic commentators raving about Americas booming economy. nothing of the sort is happening. Economies are measured in dollars, and as debt grows exponentially, so does the money supply, and the throughput of money increases, and stupid moronic economists whose only job is to make you all believe everythings doing just fine will make you believe the increasing GDP is both good and a sign of growth Heres an article that debunks all this fake news.
Lets start at the beginning. The reason that crackpot American theories of economics are wrong is that they presume capitalism is the answer to everything. More jobs? Wages must rise! Hey presto! The economy fixes itself. Supply and demand, my dudego capitalism!! But waitwhat happens if those jobs are, well, not very good ones, because corporations dont really have to compete, because its made of gigantic monopolies now, not mom-and-pop soda shoppes? If instead of being something more like stable middle class careers, with upward mobility, benefits, retirements, security, stability, meaning, belonging, and so forth, they are something more like jobs only in namein reality, hollowed out? What happens if all thats left in a job is the chance to work harder and harder every year, for shrinking income, opportunity, savings, a declining quality of life?
Thats exactly whats happened in America. The jobs that are being created are not h...
HOW could I ignore this article for this blog..!
Society Is Made Of Narrative. Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix.
In the movie The Matrix, humans are imprisoned in a virtual world by a powerful artificial intelligence system in a dystopian future. What they take to be reality is actually a computer program that has been jacked into their brains to keep them in a comatose state. They live their whole lives in that virtual simulation, without any way of knowing that what they appear to be experiencing with their senses is actually made of AI-generated code.
Life in our current society is very much the same. The difference is that instead of AI, its psychopathic oligarchs who are keeping us asleep in the Matrix. And instead of code, its narrative.
Society is made of narrative like the Matrix is made of code. Identity, language, etiquette, social roles, opinions, ideology, religion, ethnicity, philosophy, agendas, rules, laws, money, economics, jobs, hierarchies, politics, government, theyre all purely mental constructs which exist nowhere outside of the mental noises in our heads. If I asked you to point to your knee you could do so instantly and wordlessly, but if I asked you to point to the economy, for example, the closest you could come is using a bunch of linguistic symbols to point to a group of concepts. To show me the economy, youd have to tell me a story.
Anyone who has ever experienced a moment of mental stillness knows that without the chatter, none of those things are part of your actual...
August 29, 2018: The Victorian government commissioned a study by private consultants of the impact of the TPP-11 on Victorian export firms.
Below is a link to a critical evaluation of the findings of that study, which found only modest improvements in market access for some Victorian export sectors, because Australia already has a bilateral free trade agreements with all but two of the TPP-11 countries.
The study found that export market access gains could be offset in practice by increased competition from other TPP member countries in some export markets, and the complexity of the interactions between the TPP-11 and ongoing bilateral agreements.
The study does not contain any economic modelling or estimates of the impact of the TPP-11 on employment or economic growth in the Victorian economy as a whole.
The study does not include any evaluation of the risks and costs of the TPP-11, like ISDS and the removal of labour market testing for temporary migrant workers.
In summary, the study confirms our analysis that the market access gains from the TPP-11 are minimal, and does not evaluate any of the costs.
ANOTHER brilliant piece of journalism from Nafeez Ahmed. Originally sighted on MOTHERBOARD.
Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commission...
The internet is constantly bombarded with articles about how we need to go (or even ARE going) 100% renewable energy and get rid of fossil fuels now dont get me wrong, I completely agree, its just that these people have no idea of the repercussions, nor of the size of the task at hand.)
Renewable energy zealots even believe that as more and more renewables are deployed, fossil fuels are being pushed out of the way, becoming irrelevant. Seriously.
Nothing of the sort is happening. In a recent article, Gail Tverberg wrote this:
Of the 252 million tons of oil equivalent (MTOE) energy consumption added in 2017, wind ADDED 37 MTOE and solar ADDED 26 MTOE. Thus, wind and solar amounted to about 25% of total energy consumption ADDED in 2017. Fossil fuels added 67% of total energy consumption added in 2017, and other categories added the remaining 8%. [my emphasis on added]
To put this in a graphic way, look at this..
Primary energy consumption has almost trebled since 1971, and renewables still only account for 2% while oil coal and gas has grown as a total percentage at the expense of nuclear. And.. surprise surprise, OIL!...
A few weeks ago I was contacted by Brigid Magner, a lecturer at RMIT who described her current project about literary commemorations in Australia. This project includes several houses where Henry Handel Richardson (Ethel, or Ettie as she was called when she was a young girl) once lived.
The two photographs at the start of this post are of 26 Mercer Street Queenscliff where the author lived in the late 1870s. The second is from a short play I wrote for history week 2016, and shows Ettie (played by Laura McMahon) reading on the veranda. The play took place in the garden, where the audience sat, and on the spacious veranda.
Talking to Brigid and thinking about her project got me wondering about literary pilgrimages and why people travel long distances to visit the homes of their favourite authors.
At the start of Flauberts Parrot, author Julian Barnes has his narrator ask, Why does the writing make us chase the writer? Why cant we leave well alone? Why arent the books enough?
I sometimes fantasise about visiting Shrewsbury in England, where Ellis Peters set her Cadfael series. Cadfael is a Benedictine monk who lived at the Abbey of St Peter and St Paul in the 12th century. I imagine the cobbled streets and tiny, close-packed houses. And there would be some corners of the city where my imagination wouldnt feel let down. But mostly I would have to go about in blinkers. And this is one problem, isnt it, for literary pilgrims, that places where well-loved authors and charact...
When: 2-5pm, Sunday 26th August Where: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne Facebook event here Whoever becomes the new Prime Minister RAC will call a protest on the first Sunday after that at 2pm State Library calling for Racists Out! and Refugees In! Turnbull, Dutton,Morrison and Bishop are all forever stained by the(...)
Since theres nothing that can be done about climate change, because theres no scalable alternative to fossil fuels, Ive always wondered why politicians and other leaders, who clearly know better, feel compelled to deny it. I think its for exactly the same reasons you dont hear them talking about preparing for Peak Oil.
1) Our leaders have known since the 1970s energy crises that theres no comparable alternative energy ready to replace fossil fuels. To extend the oil age as long as possible, the USA went the military path rather than a Manhattan Project of research and building up grid infrastructure, railroads, sustainable agriculture, increasing home and car fuel efficiency, and other obvious actions.
Instead, weve spent trillions of dollars on defense and the military to keep the oil flowing, the Straits of Hormuz open, and invade oil-producing countries. Being so much further than Europe, China, and Russia from the Middle East, where theres not only the most remaining oil, but the easiest oil to get out at the lowest cost ($20-22 OPEC vs $60-80 rest-of-world per barrel), is a huge disadvantage. I think the military route was chosen in the 70s to maintain our access to Middle East oil and prevent challenges from other nations. Plus everyone benefits by our policing the world and keeping the lid on a world war over energy resources, perhaps thats why central banks keep lending us money.
2) If the public were convinced climate change were real and demanded alternative energy, it would become clear pretty quickly that we didnt have any alternatives. Already Californians are seeing public television shows and newspaper articles about why its so difficult to build enough wind, solar, and so on to meet the mandated 33% renewable energy sources by 2020.
For example, last night I saw a PBS program on the obstacles to wind power in Marin county, on the other side of the Golden Gate bridge. Difficulties cited were lack of storage for electricity, NIMBYism, opposition from the Audubon society over bird kills, wind blows at night when least needed, the grid needs expansion, and most wind is not near enough to the grid to be connected to it. But there was no mention of Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI) or the scale of how many windmills youd need to have. So you could be left with the impression that these problems with wind could be overcome.
You never know where life as a Singing Leader will take you next. Several years ago now, The Lucky Wonders, an indie folk pop band from Byron Bay, toured Germany. In need of a break after a few gruelling years in the music industry, Jessie Vintila and her partner Emma Royle took off for a drive through Spain and France, and found themselves in St Jean Pied de Port, a small French town at the foot of the Pyrenees.
Turns out, St Jean Pied de Port is a common starting place for people walking a spectacular stretch of the Camino Francs, the most famous of all the Pilgrimage routes across the mountains, and on this particular day the atmosphere of the town captivated them both in a powerful and life changing way.
We saw all these people in hiking gear with walking poles and there was a kind of magical hush over the town. There and then we got the bug for the Camino. Emma has been a keen hiker all her life and she was determined we would walk this track as soon as possible.
But with return flights booked and paid for it was time to head home to Australia leaving the two women unclear about how they could justify an imminent trip back to Europe. Being musicians its not that easy to travel across the world, Jessie laughs. Their quest was something to ponder, something requiring time and creative thinking but the vision and the place persisted to play in their thoughts.
On a walk out one evening, an idea and a solution to the situation popped clearly into Jessies headand after all that thinking it turned out, rather ironically, to be a bit of a no-brainer.
Jessie was fortunate to be born into a singing family. As a multi-instrumentalist for most of her life she has also been a passionate choir leader since she was 18: I cant get enough of it, Im an absolute harmony addict, I love having people all around me singing harmonies all the time. Emma, who is also a musician, is an ardent fan of walking.
The freshly hatched plan combined all these skills and, most importantly at that point in time, gave Jessie and Emma a legitimate reason to head back to the Camino together to explore the idea of setting up their potential new venture: A Singing tour of the Camino for other people to do.
If we could go over there and set up this project, we could do it!
Within a few months of their original visit, Jessie and Emma went back to Spain and walked all 800 blister-busting kilometres of the Camino. They decided to focus on the final 200km stretch which they decided would be the ideal distance for singing walkers to cover on a twelve day tour. A significant amo...
Recently, in the last few weeks, RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees transgender members who were coercively assigned female at birth and are living in the community, raised concerns about the removal of Primoteston Depot (a form of testosterone injection) from the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Primoteston has been removed from PBS by the manufacturer Bayer Pharmaceuticals for commercial reasons. This forces our members to purchase the medication at the full price of about $40 every 4-6 weeks. Generic brand testosterone is also not available through the system. For this reason, a meeting was organised last weekend by affected RISE transgender members to discuss this issue. Clearly it has had a particularly devastating impact on our community members as they are also struggling with Australias precarious and abusive refugee visa process, with limited access to health and welfare services. Furthermore, it became clear in the discussion that even service providers that explicitly claim to support transgender people have failed to address the barriers transgender refugees face when it comes to accessing hormone replacement therapy.
In order for an unemployed RISE member living in the community on a bridging visa with Medicare, to purchase prescribed medication at a concession price they have to be approved for Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) by the Australian Department of Home Affairs. If their SRSS application is approved, in addition to SRSS payments which is 89% of the standard Centrelink welfare payments they are assigned to a private subcontractor such as AMES or Life Without Barriers for settlement support. They do not have access to a healthcare card and have to depend on a letter from the SRSS provider to allow access to specific pharmacies to purchase PBS medication at a concession price. Currently, AMES provides a letter that is usually valid for only 1 or 3 months which has to be renewed each time it expires. For RISE members (all of whom are ex-detainees) on 5 year temporary visas, the government will only allow them to receive Centrelink payments for up to 18 months in total. We also need to keep in mind RISE members who are undocumented or on bridging visas, who dont have access to Medicare, the right to work or any welfare support payments and have to pay full price for all medication. The recent cuts to SRSS by the Department of Home Affairs places more of our members in this latter category.
When a person changes from Primoteston to a testosterone injection available on PBS such as Reandron (also manufactured by Bayer), they may have to continue to use Primoteston during a temporary overlapping period with Reandron. So even RISE members eligible for PBS medication at a concession rate who decide to change from Primoteston to Reandron, will initially have to pay for Primoteston at the full pri......
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,
On behalf of our members and governing staff from over 30 refugee and ex-detainee communities in Australia, Ex-detainees from RISE on behalf of the Sanction Australia Campaign urge health and educational institutions currently financially tied to security companies complicit in ongoing detention torture to take immediate action against these companies.
There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australias mandatory detention centres. These detention centres are allowed to exist with impunity because they are directly orchestrated by the Australian government for profit of which these universities and health services are beneficiaries.
Universities and health services claim to value inclusion, respect, compassion and accountability in their ethics and codes of conduct, but fail to uphold these values in their dealings with these security companies that are complicit in the many reports of death, torture and sexual abuse within these camps. Universities and health services profess a commitment to human rights and inclusion but financially supports and employs services from security companies that perpetuate racism, sexism, xenophobia, transphobia, queerphobia, and the infliction of sexual, emotional and physical violence. These companies uphold discriminatory policies that are systematically designed to murder, torture and exclude refugees who come to seek asylum by boat to Australia.
Lack of transparency and accountability in Australian run detention centres is something that has been widely reported and acknowledged by International human rights groups including the UN. Universities and health services failure to recognise and acknowledge this is purposeful and done with intention and knowledge.
Health services have a duty to protect and care for those in need, and by supporting these companies they dishonour the very foundation on which their values stand upon. Universities should put their actions and mouth where their money and values are and apply the lessons they teach on social justice and human rights.
RISE encourages employees, clients of these institutions as well as general supporters to maintain a physical presence at these establishments and demand they divest from the detention industry immediately and sever ties with these security companies.
For more information on the agencies and security companies that are tied to health services and hospitals visit: http://riserefugee.org/university-health-service-divestment-call/
Prosper enjoyed the lead quote in an Age article Inquiry scrutinises Land-titles selloff ahead of August sale But land tax advocacy group Prosper Australia has told a parliamentary inquiry into the sale that the estimated $2 billion price reflected a yield of 6 per cent a rate far above bond rates. Prosper researcher Jesse 
What year did your local station open? Before you were born? Probably before your grandparents were born! Our population is growing, and our public transport network needs to keep growing too.
The rail network grew rapidly between 1854 and 1930 but since then almost nothing. Expansion of rail, tram and Smartbus services is far too slow for Melbournes huge population growth. No wonder the roads are congested!
A Breakdown of the health and education institutions currently financially tied to security companies complicit in ongoing detention torture. There have been countless reports and inquiries regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by refugees who have been incarcerated within Australias mandatory detention centres. These detention centres are allowed to exist with impunity because they are directly orchestrated by the Australian government for profit.
RISE encourages employees, clients of these institutions as well as general supporters to maintain a physical presence at these establishments and demand they divest from the detention industry immediately and sever ties with these security companies.
*We will regular...
Findings from new research conducted in the Netherlands show that structured music lessons have a significant and positive effect on a childs cognitive abilities, improving verbal intelligence, inhibition and planning skills.
The study which followed 147 children from six schools over a 2.5 year period, was undertaken in response to the increasing disappearance of music from school timetables in countries across the world:
Despite indications that music has beneficial effects on cognition, music is disappearing from general education curricula, said lead author Dr. Artur Jaschke, who is a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. This inspired us to initiate a long-term study on the possible effects of music education on cognitive skills that may underlie academic achievement.
Read their findings and the full article here
Music Education Works: https://musiceducationworks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/music-lessons-improve-childrens-cognitive-skills-and-academic-performance/
5 July 2018 TRANSCRIPT: STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING Inquiry into the proposed long-term lease of land titles and registry functions of Land Use Victoria Members Mr David Davis Chair Dr Samantha Ratnam Witnesses Mr Karl Fitzgerald (affirmed), Project Director, and Mr Jesse Hermans (affirmed) Administrative Assistant and Researcher, Prosper Australia. The 
The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed state Labor and Coalition pledges to expand Melbournes rail network.
Labor today pledged funding for a plan for airport rail via Sunshine if re-elected. In recent weeks the Coalition has pledged suburban rail extensions of the Cranbourne line to Clyde, and the Frankston line to Baxter.
PTUA spokesperson Daniel Bowen said that as Melbourne continues to grow, it was critical that the rail network grows with it.
All of these proposals are important, and its great to see both sides of politics recognising that Melbourne needs more rail.
With traffic congestion now a daily issue across the city, more people are looking for ways to get around without driving.
Melbourne Airport is one of the worlds busiest without a rail link. The PTUA believes the proposed rail link must be fast, frequent, affordable, and have good connections to the rest of the public transport network.
Cranbourne East/Clyde, and Baxter are likely to see strong residential growth, and extending the suburban rail network to these areas, alongside upgrades to local buses, walking and cycling, will give more people viable transport options.
But Mr Bowen warned that the expansion of public transport would be undermined by the large scale road projects proposed by both sides.
Contrary to what the politicians will tell you, transport infrastructure is not about meeting current demand its about what we want our city to look like in the future, and how we want people to get around.
More motorways will generate more traffic. In contrast, more rail lines and train services will generate more trips on public transport which is a much better outcome.
Melbourne already has more kilometres of motorway than many cities of its size.
Well-run public transport, and especially heavy rail, can get vast numbers of people from A to B quickly, more efficiently and at less cost than in single-occupant cars. Thats why we look forward to commitments to further projects such as Melbourne Metro 2.
To really ensure our city continues to function, to ensure people have good access to employment, education and other opportunities, the key is fast frequent reliable public transport, trains trams and buses, along with good walking and...
James Rigby spent years driving past the mighty Murtoa Stick Shed in awe of its size and wondering how on earth the monolithic structure looming up out of the landscape could still be standing. He never imagined that one Spring day in 2017 together with Jane Thompson, he would lead around 300 community singers in a Big Sing under its cathedral-like roof of bush poles and corrugated iron.
The idea for a Stick Shed Sing was conceived by Judith Welsh, Chair of the Committee of Management which took over the running of the shed when it was gifted back to the community in 2016. The vision was to create an event to reflect the ambience and glory of the Heritage listed building and bring singing into the shed for the first time as part of Murtoas Big Weekend celebrations.
We wanted an event that anyone could join in on but which gave local choirs, the singers from the Wimmera, an opportunity to perform as part of a massed choir, as well.
As highly experienced community singing leaders, Jane Thompson and James Rigby expressed their interest in coordinating the event, working with Judith to decide a shape for the day, which included a massed singing workshop open to anyone keen to sing in the shed and a concert by any community choirs attending, who were happy to perform.
The first Stick Shed Sing was held i...
RISE members including offshore and onshore eX-detainees strongly condemn successive Australian governments for holding hostage our community members in Manus and Nauru torture camps for more than five years now. RISE demands that the Australian government to immediately bring back all refugee survivors and provide them permanent protection and proper support services.
Asylum seeker and refugee detainees are among the most persecuted and oppressed people in the world. We endured abuse in our own countries, and upon seeking protection, are disenfranchised and suffer institutional abuse within detention systems. Immigration detention centres are arbitrary and nefarious forms of state violence; they function to subjugate asylum seekers and refugees by imprisonment.
The re-opening in 2012 of so called regional processing centres in Manus Island and Nauru by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and immigration minister Chris Bowen has resulted in 12 deaths so far. Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers trafficked to Manus and Nauru by the Australian government have experienced abuse and neglect on these islands. This systemic abuse of our bodies and livelihood not only exist in detention but also long after we survived. We should not also forget those who are currently held hostage in both onshore and offshore detention camps, including some cases where people have been detained for 10 years without release date.
Former offshore and onshore detainee, Ramesh Fernandez says These camps cannot be called processing centres. Australian run offshore refugee camps are a modern form of concentration camps. How do you call this a processing centre when you get locked up 24/7, tortured and humiliated constantly. We should not forget that in November 2015 over 600 refugees and asylum seekers in Manus Island detention camp wrote to Australian PM and immigration minister Peter Dutton calling for mass assisted suicide. This is evidence that refugees and asylum seekers are unable to continue their lives in Manus.
We require support and protection, not incarceration. States have the obligation to uphold our human rights; not exploit us for political gain. We denounce the torture, deportation, abuse and bloodshed occurring in immigration detention centres. We condemn governments, private companies and nonprofit agencies who are part of the detention supply chain.
Furthermore, Ramesh Fernandez says, due to the lack of transparency in these Australian run detention camps, refugee cases have been mishandled, unfairly dismissed and processed without proper adherence to refugee rights protocol. Providing Manus and Nauru detainees with the impossible ultimatum of settling in PNG or retu...
Carey Gillam worked as an agricultural journalist for Reuters for over 20 years and reported on the GM revolution in the US. What she saw led her to write "Whitewash: the story of a weedkiller, cancer and the corruption of science." Roundup, the weedkiller, is sprayed on most GM crops and its use has skyrocketed. It has been found in food, water, air, rain, alcoholic drinks, human urine and breastmilk. It is linked to cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and birth defects. It is likely most of us have it in our bodies....
It took my legs a week to recover from the climb up and down Mt Juliet. Ugh, age is catching up with me.
Just outside Healesville, an hour and a bit east of Melbourne in the Yarra Ranges, Mt Juliet is 1120m high. The walk to the top is only 4.5km. Its steep. Very steep.
The day I did it was a rainy, cold winters day....
Where are the billions coming from? In part, from property. This financial year Treasurer Tim Pallas will get $6.6 billion from property stamp duty, up from $5.4 billion in 2015-16. He will get $2.4 billion from land tax, up from $1.7 billion in 2015.
The good news is that Victorian property values are staying high. Sydney prices slid 1.7 per cent in the three months to March whereas Melbourne prices slipped just 0.5 per cent.
Going forward, Tuesdays budget will forecast still high but lower income from stamp duty, a judgment that looks about right. Melbournes population growth is the strongest in Australia, which means Melbourne property prices are more likely than most to stay high.
Many more of the billions will come from asset sales. The Turnbull government will pay the Andrews government a touch over $2 billion for Victorias share of Snowy Hydro, and a private buyer will pay it an estimated $2 billion for the right to run the land titles registry.
Victoria will get $16.8 billion from the Commonwealth Grants Commission in goods and services tax collections, thats about $900 million more than it expected. Itll reflect both Victorias bigger than expected population, and its lower than expected share of Commonwealth infrastructure grants. The Grants Commissions formula requires it to compensate for Commonwealth stinginess after enough years have passed, and the Abbott and Turnbull governments have been stingy long enough for the compensation to kick in.
And the Commonwealth is at last becoming more generous. The $5 billion promised for a Melbourne Airport rail link and the $1.42 billion promised for regional rail are making things easier.
The economy itself is helping. One in every ten jobs in Victoria has been created in the past 3 years, since the election of the Andrews government. One in every seven dollars sloshing around in the economy wasnt there before Andrews was elected and (coincidentally) Victorias population growth took off.
Its impressive, but doesnt quite explain how Tim Pallas can promise to spend $10 billion a year on infrastructure for the next four years and still bring in a surplus.
The answer lies in a quaint state budget accounting convention. When the money is spent, it isnt spent as far as the budget is concerned. All that appears on the budget are the interest...
Tim Pallas describes his budget as a statement of faith. It is, and not only of faith that Victorias extraordinary population boom will continue and necessitate the building of even more schools, roads, railways and hospitals. Its also a statement of faith in property prices.
Buried within the budget is an assumption about how fast property prices will continue to grow. Amazingly, after briefly dipping to about 2.5 per cent, price growth is assumed to bounce back to more than 5 per cent a year for the last three years of the budget projections and presumably beyond.
The latest figures for Melbourne property prices, released as the Treasurer prepared to deliver his speech, show a drop of 0.7 per cent over the past three months, which is pretty much the same as a plateau, after almost a decade of continual increases.
Had the budget instead assumed steady property prices it would take in about $250 million less than forecast from stamp duty and land tax in 2018-19 and as much as $2 billion a year less by 2021-22.
Treasury officials believe theyve good reasons for assuming price growth will bounce back.
Historically, average price growth has been more than 5 per cent a year, and, discounting events such as the global financial crisis, prices have never stopped growing for long.
Also, Melbournes rapid population growth is affecting prices in an unusual way. Price growth is slowing in inner and metropolitan Melbourne, but continuing strongly in outer Melbourne.
Treasurys methodology doesnt allow it to assume a recession or a crisis, so is forced to assume an overall pickup, even though Pallas has asked it to be conservative.
It is on stronger ground predicting a jump in grants revenue of 10.3 per cent next financial year, most of it from the Commonwealth which doles out GST collections.
The Grants Commission has told it it will be compensated for very strong population growth (about 150,000 people a year, which is the population of Canberra every three years) and also to a lesser extent for getting less than its fair share of Commonwealth infrastructure funding.
In future it is expecting more modest growth in grants revenue of 3 per cent a year, a figure that very much depends on the Commonwealths decision about a change in Grants Commission formula due later this year.......
If women were to be taxed differently to men, it wouldnt be the first time.
Treasurer Scott Morrison says the idea is absurd.
You dont fill out pink forms and blue forms on your tax return. It doesnt look at what your gender is any more than it looks at whether you are left-handed or right-handed, he said last week.
He even said, wrongly, that Labor has been suggesting it.
But such a move has happened before.
In Britain right up until 1971, wives werent usually taxed on their income; their husbands were. A wifes income was deemed to be stated and accounted for by her husband. It wasnt until 1950 that wives ceased to be classified for tax purposes as incapacitated along with infants, lunatics, idiots and the insane.
South Australia broke ranks early, in 1884, taxing married women as individuals and giving them the right to own property. By the time the Commonwealth introduced national income tax in 1915, all the states had fallen into line.
What possible modern-day reason could there be for taxing women differently to men, as mentioned by Melbourne University tax expert Miranda Stewart in evidence to the Senate last week?
Morrison himself provided a clue while ridiculing the idea. He said the Tax Act was designed to treat peoples income the same, and so you pay tax according to what you earn.
But we dont. Someone who earns $1000 from wages pays twice as much as someone who earns $1000 by making a capital gain selling an asset. Income from capital gains is taxed more lightly in accordance with whats known as optimal taxation theory. It suggests taxing heavily things that tax is unlikely to stop, such as work, and taxing more lightly things that tax is more likely to stop, such as the movement of capital. Its the basis of the argument for a lower company tax rate as well as a lower capital gains tax rate.
The concession isnt fair, but its efficient.
As would be the logical extension, which is to tax female wages more lightly than male wages. Male work turns out to barely react to after-tax pay. Most men will continue to work full-time regardless of what happens to what they take home, regardless of how much they grumble.
Some will work a bit less if their take-home pay falls, because they are offered less of a reward. Others will work a bit more in order to get back the income they lost. On balance the price elasticity of their labour is close to zero.
Women are different. Most European and American estimates put the price elasticity of their labour between 0.4 and 1, meaning a 10 per cent boost in th...
The third and final stage of the government's proposed income tax cuts would overwhelmingly benefit men, late evidence presented to the Senate inquiry shows.
The inquiry will report on Monday that calculations prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Office show 1.894 million men would benefit from the final flattening of the tax scales and only 767,000 women.
The third stage lifts the threshold for the top rate from $120,000 to $200,000 and removes the 37 per cent rate, producing a flat marginal rate of 32.5 per cent between $41,001 to $200,000.
The PBO has previously told the inquiry the final stage would deliver $30.35 billion to men over four years and $11.25 billion to women.
It finds that the impact of the first two stages is much more even.
In a second piece of late evidence requested by the committee, Melbourne University tax expert Miranda Stewart reports that the effective marginal tax rate facing women considering returning to work after having children would remain as high as 95 per cent even after all three stages of the tax cuts and the changes to child care benefits due to begin on July 1.
Effective marginal rates include tax, the Medicare levy, lost family benefits and the cost of the childcare needed to return to work after government subsidies.
On July 1 the two existing childcare subsidies will be rolled into one providing a means tested subsidy of up to $11.77 per hour at an extra cost to the budget of $4 billion over four years.
Professor Stewart said at the moment the effective marginal tax rate for a second earner with two young children paying for childcare at that rate was 65 per cent when returning to work one day a week, 85 per cent on the second day, 95 per cent on the third day and 140 per cent and 160 per cent on days four and five, meaning those families lost income when mothers moved from working part time to full time.
"It was extraordinary that second earners went back to work full time at all," she said. "The reality has been that a proportion of women do go back to work, and the family is essentially bearing the net cost, unless they can use grandparents or friends for care or a cheaper option such as family day care.
Prosper Australia will be appearing at the Inquiry Into the Proposed Long Term Leasing of Land Titles and Registry Functions of Land Use Victoria (LUV). Time: 11am, Thursday July 5 Where: Meeting Room G2, 55 St Andrews Place, East Melbourne Who: Karl Fitzgerald A number of transcriptions from previous witnesses, including key public servants, are 
ECCV AGAINST CROWNS SPECIAL EXEMPTIONS
Monday July 2nd, 2018
The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) calls on the Victorian Government to provide consistent regulation for all Electronic Gambling machines within Victoria.
Crown Casino operates under the Casino Control Act 1991 which is independent to the Victorian Gambling Regulation Bill 2017. This Act allows Crown Casino to run poker machines without a minimum spin rate. In comparison, all other poker machines in Victoria are legally restricted, and have a minimum spin rate of 2.14 seconds between each bet.
ECCV is concerned about the lack of accountability required of Crown Casino in managing Electronic Gambling Machines, which operate 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
ECCV Chairperson Cr Kris Pavlidis says, Gambling harm has become a scourge in our society impacting on individuals, families and the wider community and a serious public health issue.
ECCV presented its position to The Victorian Council of Liquor and Gaming Regulation in its Sixth Casino Review community consultations in 2017. Recommendations included:
Cr Kris Pavlidis says the Sixth Casino Review provides a significant opportunity for regulation to enhance and reinforce, rather than undermine, self-responsibility.
For more information and/or media comment, please contact Leenie Fabri, Communications & Media Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org / 0422 480 319
Even a small amount of training can have long lasting effects. But this doesnt mean that those who have never played an instrument in childhood have missed the boat. The ageing brain is plastic: that means it is able to learn new things all the time. So, should we consider an increase in music programs for those in the third age?
Learning to play a musical instrument is an extremely complex task that involves the coordination of multiple sensory systems within the brain. Many instruments require precise coordination between the eyes, the ears and the hands in order to play a musical note. Using the resulting sound as feedback, the brain prepares for the next note and so it continues. The act of music-making is quite a brain workout.
The relationship between the motor and auditory parts of the brain is strengthened when physically playing music. This may explain why adults trained to play certain melodies have an enhanced representation of music in the brain compared to adults only trained to listen to the same melodies.
As playing music involves many different parts of the brain, even a short-term program for older adult musical novices can lead to generalised improvements for cognitive ability.
Learning to play an instrument such as the piano involves many complex finger sequencing and coordination tasks. As such, it can be a great test-bed for learning to move fingers independently.
The creativity of...
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