Can anyone help Scomo? He lost the immunisation targets. Where did he leave them? It's to the back of the queue... look over there! It's adman with a new campaign on consent. Oops! The fun bit about milkshakes upset the punters. What's next? Biden's meeting - quick action needed. Steal or borrow a climate policy. Whew! Is it getting hot around here?
Recent events in Canberra dominated discussion at our last Politics and Current Affairs session. Lots of discussion occurred relating to male / female relationships within the Political establishment.
We fleetingly discussed the visit to Benalla by the Deputy Prime Minister.
Politics like many other groups is re-starting after the lengthy break in 2020. We'd missed a year of high political drama, but I think many were jut relieved to get back and have a chance to talk with others.
The last week was not without disgraceful behaviour in Federal parliament. Young women working as staff in ministerial offices have been raped. The PM announced a number of internal inquiries into “the culture” of the work-place. Why do we need an inquiry when laws have been broken? The young women were not protected by their employers, who are both Federal Ministers. They did not ensure their staff worked in a safe workplace, which is mandated by law.
Whilst it is good to see the inquiry will be a multi-party affair, the P.M. did not it not offer to make the report public. It will require on going pressure to ensure the staffers get the same protection of the law as they would expect in any other work place. There is no place for blaming the victims.
The week ended with Liberal MP Craig Kelly resigning from the liberal Party for his anti Vax messages and failing to support Governments policies, despite requests from the PM for him to follow the party line.
Not a great week in politics!
We resume our discussions at a new venue - Cooinda's Hub - on Tuesday 9th February from 10 am to midday (fingers crossed!)
We plan to resume the dissect local, state, federal and world affairs this year at Cooinda's Hub as this will enable us to comply with Covid-19 social distancing regulations. .
Classes, held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays from 10 am to 12 midday, wil begin on Tuesday 9th February. The Cooinda Hub is in Jean Lee Drive of the Cooinda Village - there is a sign to it at about the midpoint as you drive through the main thoroughfare of the village.
Terry Case 0417 621 700
Where to begin after another eventful month in politics? Of course, by the time we eventually re-start classes politics will have become mundane and I will be scratching around for topics.
During the recent S.A. shut-down the Premier took a swipe at hotel quarantine as being a major problem. Federal colleagues did not criticize him as they had Dan Andrews, was the difference that S.A. is a Liberal Government?
S.A. wants Quarantine stations to be opened, will the Feds support such a move to deal with the large numbers that Morrison wants to return home for home for Christmas? Of course not, but we cannot risk another outbreak from hotel quarantine, so what is being done to improve the system? Dan’s practical suggestion for security guards to have adequate pay and sick leave might make quarantine safer.
The people of S.A. were relieved to be out of their brief lock-down, but refugees remain in indefinite detention, yet have not been charged with any crime, what hope have they been offered?
Robo-debt was solved on the morning of the scheduled biggest class action trial in Australian history. This came after months of blocking, the government agreed to pay $112 million in compensation and legal costs, too late for those who suicided as they became overwhelmed with the harassment to repay debts they had not incurred. The $112 million was money well spent to save the P.M. having to give evidence about a program he was responsible for as a Minister, and as PM. Was it coincidence he flew out that day to Japan and avoided questions from the press?
Continuing legal topics, Palmer lost his border challenge against Western Australia. If he had won, it would have created a constitutional crisis and possibly dented the W.A. budget.
The American Presidential election saw Kamala Harris become the first woman to become a Vice President, a huge step for American democracy. Despite fears of a mass rebellion there was little violence and this morning I heard Trump had cleared the charges against Mike Flynn, another sign he has capitulated.
We will re-start classes in 2021. There will probably timetable changes, so do check the newsletter.
Such an amazing year and such frustration that we cannot share our views. U3A is working on access to a venue next year whilst the Seniors’ is revamped to provide us with an extra room, see the Dorothy’s president’s report, it's not political!.
Daniel Andrews forced a Minister to resign over Hotel debacle, she went protesting that he also was at fault. The Public Service Head of the Department also resigned. Surprisingly Andrews seemed to take little political damage, on the other hand his daily lengthy news conferences must be taking an enormous toll on him.
The NSW Premier also took some political hits as her personal life became public as a secret relationship with MP Daryl Maguire became headline news. Maguire’s deals were exposed by the NSW ICAC (anti-corruption commission) exposed his financial deals. Gladys Berejiklian survived no-confidence motions and relentless probing by the press. She survived, but possibly will stand down before the next election in a few years’ time. It should raise the issue of whether MPs s can have second jobs or business interests.
A NSW land purchase for the new airport drew cries for a Federal anti-corruption body to investigate why this land was so overpriced. Morrison seemed to think that the Government was doing all it could tackling the virus and could not deal with this as well. The draft bill was with the A.G. before the virus erupted. Stunning to think such an enormous organization cannot perform multiple tasks especially as the States do much of the work. Things changed when the head of the Post rewarded her executives with watches. She told the Senate investigation were valued at $3,000 each, in fact they were worth double that. Morrison demanded she stand down immediately. Then the newly appointed head of ASIC was found to have massively overspent on his allowances, he says he will pay it back. This is the head of the corporate watch dog, how about dismissing him for his failings and fine him?
America continues to astound and if you think it will be all over soon think again. Trump has his 3rd Pick for the Supreme Court almost in place. If he is not declared the winner expect him to challenge in the Court. Even more frightening are some of the militia groups who parade with their heavy weapons outside polling stations as they try and intimidate voters. One group was busted by the FBI for planning to kidnap a State Governor who displeased them and kill some of her police chiefs. At least the debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence was reasonable if you don’t mind the tactic of talking over your opponent, now where is that mute button?
Hi there folks Down Under, how’s that Deputy Sheriff gig going? You sure have got those Chinese upset, good luck we would like to help but are busy sending our beef wine & barley to a new customer, sure helps us in our trade war. You know Trump believes in never give a sucker an even break, not that we think you are losers! Now why are you guys holding back from evicting the Chinese from their illegal island forts. I hear your comedians reckon all you have to do is wait for climate change to do the job. Get with it suckers and give them hell! Don’t worry about retaliation those Chinese are just paper tigers, go twist their tails, they won’t bite.
Hey you know we have an election coming up, Trumpy is in great form sending in the National Guard and teaching those soft on crime Democrat governors a lesson in Power Politics; burn baby burn! We have to stop armed migrants from taking our streets, sending out 17 year olds armed to the teeth shows we mean business. It’s the right of every (White) American to shoot who he Goddam pleases, it goes real well with our gun lobby, you folks should give it a try! What’s wrong with you people wearing facemasks, just carry your guns and change that constitution of yours!
Good to see you guys are trying to stop politicians using the postal service, but Pauline is one of the good guys, you got the wrong target. That Dan Andrews got the right idea, curfew all the migrants, but not white folks, someone have a word with the guy, he’s taking it too seriously. Trump knows all about false news he can give Andrews a few tips on how to deal with a press Conference and the virus, his mate Boris Johnson is doing a top job, especially now he has Tony as guide.
We love the way you guys make politics a comedy routine, those NSW Nationals want to sit on a cross bench and be ministers, how the hell do you do that? Trump reckons he sure ain’t going anywhere, he’s asking that joker in Belarus to come over and give us some tips on how to handle women, mind you Trump reckons he’s an expert there. Trump says Republican Presidents can do anything they want and doesn’t need Putin this time and he sure likes the idea of President for Life, if Xi can do it so can Trump, that’s our boy!
Why do you guys allow illegal votes through your Post, close it down! We can help you spread conspiracy theories but you had better go easy on our friends at Facebook. Remember good guys don’t lose elections, it's radical socialists and migrant girls like Harris who are trying to steal this election.
Now the real news?
Not content with locking up asylum seekers indefinitely, some have been detained over 7 years. The Government decided it would be a good idea to remove their access to mobile phones. Just imagine if we did that to people in Melbourne under lock down! Minister Dutton claimed they had been accessing child pornography sites, what all of them? No evidence is made public, this seems like group punishment to me.
Helen Scheller was one of the letter writers to the Age who wrote about their plight. I quote her letter:- “Refugees are rapidly becoming the forgotten people. They have been condemned to a life without hope merely because they had the temerity to believe that a country such as ours would welcome them and give them the chance for a new life they dreamed of.
Now new proposed legislation would strip them of their only link to the outside world, their phones. It appears that our Prime Minister can show compassion, and deliver practical help to every group in the country, but, alas, refugees are not on the list”
You may not agree with Helen, I quote her letter as an example of direct action. Other U3A members are involved in Council elections, let me know what you have been doing.
Covert is giving our politicians a lesson in in constitutional powers, I think a number of politicians have been reading their constitution handbooks for maybe the first time. Sure, Canberra has the money, but surprise the States have the powers. Border Force is looking a bit lame. Then to the Feds horror they find they are in charge of Aged Care facilities, suddenly Minister Hunt no longer wants to hammer Victoria on this issue, can we just talk about gas instead?
Jo Biden wants to talk about energy and climate change. Joe has this strange idea that gas is a carbon fuel responsible for methane pollution and global warming, he wants American allies to dump it and get on clean energy. If Biden wins Morrison might find there is a political price to be paid for gas.
Trump is set to leave the Paris Climate Agreement the day after the election, when countries can change their stance, that should play well for his audience and he remains President to Inauguration Day, plenty of time to stir trouble in the Courts and on the streets if he loses. Showing my bias, I meant if the Democrats try and steal it.
California is now due for cooler weather and reduced fire hazards, that was Trump’s message to the State Governor. Maybe our fire crews can come back home and bring a few spare water bomber aircraft with them, it seems the Californians will not need them. Trump also cancelled the order for drones equipped to aid fire-fighting, because they are made in China, maybe the Chinese would offer us a cheap deal now we have withdrawn our journalists?
The Chinese have taken note how Western Countries had a lot to say about Hong Kong, but took no action, resulting in Xi positioning forces to scare the Taiwanese into submission, or invade them, a lose, lose for Taiwan and the West. another fine mess!
Give Trump his due, he is withdrawing US Forces from Afghanistan as he promised, abandoning the civilian population to the war lords and Taliban once more. I wonder if Australia had any say in what Trump decided, or are we just do what we are told? At the end of the Gulf War when the US withdrew from Iraq I wondered what all the killing and bombs achieved. A broken country with warring factions and a brutalized civilian population that was ripe for the Taliban.
20 years on from the aircraft smashing into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, I fear the world is facing a dangerous future. A time for diplomacy? Or does no one believe in that anymore? I think we have been poisoned by the politics of fear and loathing, it’s time to find our moral compass and let politicians know what WE think.
Two articles this month… with an invitation to other class members to contribute articles next month.
From Convenor Terry Case – a somewhat tongue in cheek article!
“Tired of all the news about the virus? Well, by now it is all over! Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his British hosts in July the World Health Organization was responsible for all the Brits who had died as a result of the virus. I hope the show trials of these war criminals commence in time for the Presidential election. Talking of which it is all rigged according to the Donald. It is all those postal votes which mean they cannot have a fair election, the problem is, the Democrats like those postal votes. Why join the long queues and risk that mythical virus? Surely the Republicans face the same wait. Well thanks to the manipulations and Gerrymandering they usually have access to far more voting booths in Republican counties than Democrats have. If you are a Black Democrat voter the polling officials are far more likely to demand to see your registration papers, which in some counties are extremely hard to get, (I mean if you are Black now just stand back so those nice people can vote). Thank goodness the South won the Civil War. Now don’t start dredging up false histories, just check Face Book they will tell you straight.
Donald has told us it will be the most unfair and corrupt election and that Black gal that the Democrats have chosen is another Obama, she is not white and not eligible, besides she will tell Sleepy Joe what to do. Anyhow she is a communist. Dust of the Donald’s 2011 – 2016 rants on Obama not being an American, they worked then and probably will again.
Thank goodness Donald worked so hard and found a way to stop those sneaky Democrats using illegal postal votes. Yes, blocking the money the postal service uses to collect and send the votes sounds fair with me. After all those nice Republicans know they will be looked after and those automatic vote sorters won’t be needed in Democrat areas. The Post Office has already informed some State Governors it will not be possible for the votes to reach counting stations before the deadline. In the last State election 20% of the votes could not be delivered by the Post in time. Hooray the Free World is safe again, it’s not like Hong Kong with all those horrid riots!
I agree with Donald, the election will be rigged, I wonder if the Chinese will send observers? Nice to see the Russians are backing Donald and the Chinese, Biden. Anyhow if Biden claims to have won, Donald is saying he cannot accept the false result and he is not leaving the White House.
I wonder how the next Civil War starts?
If you want to stop my ranting it’s time to start contributing. It might be a while before normal transmission resumes. They’re coming to take me away ha, ha!
P.S. By the time you read this Clive Palmer will have bankrupted those pesky Western Australian Communists and their Premier, ah Clive a true Aussie billionaire!
Please send your Looney Tunes oops, I mean contributions to the newsletter.
From class member Heather Wallace –
“So much has happened since we last attended our Politics group. Joe Biden is the Democrat candidate, and Donald Trump the Republican candidate. With only two months until the election it will be a time of changing possibilities – will it be Biden or will it be Trump? Biden has been a favourite with the polls so far, but do not count Trump out. Trump has done a couple of deals in the past week which may be a telling point for his future – the UAE deal with Israel – one he has pushed through, now he is claiming to be the Law and Order President – even though his attitude to minorities has fuelled some of the problems that have occurred recently. These may reflect in the polls and change the election result.
Even Trump’s sister has got into the act with her tell all recordings and interviews in the past week, though what effect this may have on the election result, we will wait and see.
Closer to home things have been heating up somewhat. Clive Palmer is taking action against Western Australian under Section 92 of the Constitution. He is threatening to bankrupt the Western Australian Government for the closing of borders.
Whilst on the subject of closing of borders, it will be interesting to see if the State Premiers and Scott Morrison can come to some agreement to make things happen. The economy in Australia is at its lowest ebb since the ‘recession we had to have’. Jobs are scarce and many will have disappeared for good, with companies taking advantage of the Covid-19 situation to streamline their organisations to save money, small businesses disappearing etc. Things are going to be difficult for a long time, but it is not going to get better by Federal and State governments sniping at one another.
Then we have had the branch stacking debacles in Victoria on both sides of politics. The changing of the guard with younger right wing Liberal Party members looking to roll out the old guard in attempt to get a new breed into politics is not over yet – just watch this space.
If you wish to have an input in the political goings on in the world, why not put pen to paper and write an article for the U3A Newsletter. It would be good to hear other members’ points of view.”
With the current Stage 3 Restrictions in place, unfortunately Politics and Current Affairs will not be going ahead with our proposed meeting in the park in September. Hopefully there will be news of being able to gather in the park in October in the next newsletter.
In the midst of political turmoil and the American presidential campaign our group is in limbo!
What can be done? I am thinking of a late September re-start, Covid-19 regulations willing, meeting in the park near the Art Gallery. The sessions will be for 1 hour, 11 am till noon; 2nd and 4th Tuesday.
There are some tables and benches, but BYO chair if you have one!
The session would be cancelled in bad weather. I think we need a forecast of 15 degrees to be comfortable, below that we will not meet, although if you and friends want to walk and talk politics to keep warm, then go ahead and I might be there too!
Meetings in the Park will hopefully commence on Tuesday 22nd September 11am. To give me an idea of numbers please text me a few days beforehand on 0427621700.
Trump is doing what few other Presidents have achieved, getting the military to speak out against him!
Ex-Defence Secretary and Marine General James Mattis condemned Trump's handling of protests accused Trump of dividing US and ordering military to violate constitutional rights of Americans.
Mattis, who resigned as Secretary of Defence in December 2018 to protest Trump’s Syria policy, has, ever since, kept studiously silent about Trump’s performance as president. But he has now broken his silence, writing an extraordinary broadside in which he denounces the president for dividing the nation.
Other Generals and the Admiral who is the current Chief also spoke out against the President, whilst ex-Chief of Staff General Colin Powell says Trump is not fit to be President because of his constant lying. Another General found himself being part of a photo opportunity when Trump had protestors cleared in front of a church so he could be photographed holding a bible with an entourage behind him.
After reflecting on being dragged into this political theatre (Trump defender of faith) the General held his own press conference to say he should not have been involved and Trump had illegally issued an order.
I find it amazing that military leaders have criticised their President so publicly, it shows a fierce protection of the constitution and a horror of the military being dragged into politics.
The target of the photo op were the evangelical voters that formed part of Trump’s power base in his election as President. But it backfired as some evangelical leaders said they were aghast, watching the event unfold.
“Pelting people with rubber bullets and spraying them with teargas for peacefully protesting is morally wrong,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “What we need right now is moral leadership – from all of us, in the churches, in the police departments, in the courts, and in the White House. The Bible tells us so. So do our own consciences.”
The staunchest of evangelicals, 90-year-old televangelist Pat Robertson, decided to split from Trump.
A record 81% of white evangelicals voted for him in 2016, and he only narrowly won the presidency. Trump was reminding them that in exchange for their votes he has packed the courts, including the Supreme Court, with conservative judges who agree with evangelicals on social issues. Trump was therefore annoyed that the Supreme Court had supported LBGT rights.
So, after massive and prolonged demonstrations in many states over the killing of George Floyd what does Trump say? He tells the nation that at Floyd’s funeral that George will be in heaven looking down and saying this is the best day ever!!!! Why the best day? Because the stock market showed signs of picking up. Meanwhile he offers no leadership to alleviate concerns of the demonstrators. He abandoned taking charge of the virus suppression passing it off to State Governors. Trump has a limited attention span and his only long-term focus is on Obama and Clinton, whose reputations seem to drive him mad with envy!
Now Trump is in election mode, keep watch on the size of crowds at the rallies. There were many empty seats at the first rally, they might resort to crowd cut out posters like our football!
In Australia the issue of deaths in custody re-ignited, leading to people struggling with their conscience to seize the moment and get some of the political spotlight to stop the ongoing deaths here. Over 430 Aboriginals & Torres Strait Islanders have died in custody since the issue of the Royal Commission Report, that was ignored by our political class. Protestors were willing to risk their health and others to grasp this opportunity to vent their frustration. The right of free speech v community safety. But if you keep ignoring a section of the population you are going to create worse problems. Do you remember James Baldwin’s Fire next time? That book was written after the LA Riots in the 60s.
Marcia Langton summed it up when she said, “It’s simple, stop killing Aboriginals.”
If any politics group members wish to comment on current issues, send your contribution to Heather for the next newsletter.
I was sad to hear that Godfrey Marple died recently. Godfrey and Carole had been active in political affairs and shared their knowledge of how Victorian politics was conducted. Godfrey had a strong understanding of political geography and I was able to draw on his expertise to discuss items such as location of American bases. Godfrey produced maps and was able to show us the location of these outposts of American power as they were re-purposed from containing Russian power to containing the rise of China. In this year of virus and social distancing we have not been able to celebrate his life, but he will be remembered and missed. Farewell comrade!
Our politicians are dusting off their old policies in readiness for their return to “business as usual”. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have been talking about personal responsibility, maximising personal choice and rewarding risk taking as they hope the economy snaps back in place. It seems behind the scenes Westfarmer’s CEO is lobbying for company tax cuts and industrial relations reform. Interestingly the fight is also about big business preferences versus the small business lobbies. Despite Liberal leaders saying they are there to support families and small business, it is the Corporate sector who remain the power group.
On power of a different sort there have been major changes in investment in coal, a recent court case that lasted 7 years which will see a 75% reduction in output from its remaining coal fired power plants and no further investment in coal. Austria also announced it is now joining a number of other European countries in being coal free and Japan is making a policy reversal as its 3 largest banks refuse any new investment in coal.
Major drivers of this change are large companies and their shareholders. In Europe BP & Shell have ceased investing in carbon to be carbon neutral in line with the Paris climate targets. Australian companies are beginning to come under pressure as some of the world’s largest wealth funds divest themselves of Australian companies connected with coal. Allianz, one of the largest insurance groups, will no longer insure companies with coal assets, this includes the railways and ports. Talk is no longer of new investments, but stranded assets.
Strange to say I am finding more about politics in the business news: we might have to refocus the group! Meanwhile spare a thought for the garment factory workers in Bangladesh. They export to companies like Target. Due to the virus the world retail market is collapsing and workers in one of the world’s poorest countries are left with no pay and a government that cannot afford welfare. Couple this with what is possibly the largest refugee population in the world and the virus, and a catastrophe seems in the making.
We came to an abrupt end but so did many other activities. If you'd like to share some short pieces please send them to Heather at email@example.com
Here's my first contribution:-
"The virus was organized by the Democrats" D Trump
“The virus was a Chinese plot:" D. Trump
Has he found the plot or just lost it?
Let's wish our politicians clearer heads in their decision-making.
Politics did not take a break over the Christmas break, giving the group many topics to discuss at the first classes of the year. We touched on local and state politics, as well as the shenanigans of our Federal parties. Of course, USA politics, Brexit and its effects on the future of the United Kingdom and the European Union were discussed with enthusiasm by the group.
Our final meeting for the year will be Tuesday 10th of December when we combine with the History class to watch a DVD. I hope you have a pleasant break and return next year for more of Trump & Co.
We were shocked to hear Ian Gray had died suddenly whilst traveling overseas.
Ian was such a vibrant character who could be provocative, but with a cheeky smile and generous laugh that invited us to share his good humour. Ian was going to join our convenors next year and I was looking forward to him co-hosting a new current affairs subject, we will miss him.
About the Politics and Current Affairs group
Join our discussions as we dissect local, state, federal and world affairs.
Convenor and contact details
Terry Case 0427621700
2nd and 4th Tuesday 10.00 am to 12 midday