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(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review No. 612 20th September - 3RD OCTOBER 2004

From weekly <weekly@anarchistmedia.org>
Date Wed, 22 Sep 2004 09:42:38 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

CONSUMER BOYCOTTS The Australian Trade Union's response to the James Hardie fiasco
is a good example of the power that consumers enjoy in a capitalist society. A
well-coordinated campaign that promotes and uses consumer boycotts as a tactic can
bring rogue corporations and the capitalist system to a grinding halt.
Historically workers have withdrawn their labour to put pressure on the
corporate sector and the State. The decrease in the number of workers
involved in essential production, the rise and rise of the services sector,
the increase in the number of people employed on contracts or involved in
small business, the decrease in the number of workers involved in unions and
the introduction of draconian workplace laws, has significantly decrease the
power workers are able to exercise by withdrawing their labour.

Corporations, no matter how large they are, ultimately depend on consumers
buying their products and people and institutions buying their shares, to
survive. Some are so highly geared, even a short sharp campaign by
consumers to boycott their products can threaten their very existence. An
important factor that needs to be taken into account in any consumer boycott
campaign is the number of people whom, under their own steam or though their
superannuation funds, have money invested in specific corporations.
Consumer boycotts can, if well coordinated, bankrupt and close down a
company and if used in tandem with strikes, pickets and occupations can
threaten the capitalist system itself.

Successful consumers boycott campaigns need to be leveled at both personal
and community levels. Individuals can refuse to buy products produced by
specific companies. They can sell any shares they own in that company and
force superannuation companies they have money in, to offload any stock they
may hold in that particular company. Protest action needs to be organised
that places pressure on suppliers, distributors as well as consumers of
products produced by targeted companies. Community campaigns need to be
launched that force unions, local councils and State and Federal governments
to stop dealing with specific companies.

Consumers in a consumer driven society have, like workers who withdraw their
labour, extraordinary power. They have the power to bankrupt specific
companies, place pressure on the State and the corporate sector and
transform the type of society we live in by exploiting corporations
dependence on shareholders and consumers to generate the levels of profits
they need to service and prosper.

The good thing about not being on the electoral roll, is you don't have to
worry about all those promises that the next batch of aspiring politicians
are making. Unlike those millions of electors who are going to vote on
October the 9th, I don't have to worry about which promises are going to
cajole me to cast my ballot for a particular candidate. Spare me the
claptrap about how many people died so I could vote. I agree they died, but
what did they die for and what transpired after their deaths are two
different things.

Did they die so that people could cast a ballot every 3 to 4 years to elect
representatives who can promise anything before an election and follow
directly opposite policies when elected or did they die so that people would
have more involvement in the decision making process? Representative
democracy is not the pinnacle of human achievement that it is made out to
be. If it were, people would know that when they voted for a particular
candidate who made specific promises, they could be confident that their
representative would work to carry out those promises.

A democracy based solely on the idea of trust, is no democracy at all.
Parliamentary democracy is neither democratic nor even representative.
Radical activists are faced with a dilemma whenever parliamentary or council
elections come round. They are faced with an even more difficult dilemma
when there are real differences in the policies put forward by different
parliamentary parties.

Do they participate in what is essentially a meaningless exercise because
what policies can be implemented by parliamentarians is limited by both the
real power exercised by those who own the means of production, distribution
and exchange and the conservative constitution parliament labours under? Do
they begin the long journey to create an egalitarian society in where the
people involved in a decision, make that decision (direct democracy), and
where wealth is held in common and used for the common good by raising
questions about the nature of democracy during election campaigns? Do they
refuse to support a system that reduces the democratic process to 2-minutes
of alluring power?

The ball is now in the court of all those electors on the Australian
electoral roll who are expected to do their duty on the 9th of October and
cast a ballot for candidates who must be taken on trust.

High bulk billing rates are good for patients, good for doctors and good for
the economy. The higher the number of patients bulk billed by doctors, the
fewer out of pocket expenses faced by patients when visiting a doctor or
having pathological or radiological tests. The fewer out of pocket expenses
faced by patients, the earlier patients will visit their doctor. The
earlier they visit their doctors for specific medical problems, the fewer
personal costs to the patient and their family and the lower the economic
cost to the community. Bulk billing gives access to medical facilities to
all Australians irrespective of their income and the nature and extent of
their illness.

The dramatic fall in bulk billing rates over the past 10 years is directly
linked to the shrinking scheduled fee set by the Commonwealth government
compared to the rapidly escalating costs of running a medical practice.
Over the past decade the scheduled fee set by governments has been set at
50% of the inflation rate. If fees set for specific medical services by the
Commonwealth government reflect the costs of running a practice, doctors
would significantly increase their bulk bill rates because of the
administrative savings bulk billing doctors are able to achieve. These
savings will be achieved by the elimination of bad debts and a major
reduction in the paperwork and banking costs associated with running a fee
for service medical practice.

Paradoxically increasing bulk billing rates and increasing doctors visits
are good for the economy. The higher the number of bulk billing doctors,
the greater the competition between practices that bulk bill and non-bulk
billing practices. Practices that don't bulk bill will need to maintain
their fees relatively similar to the government-scheduled fees, if they want
to continue to run viable practices. The lower the number of bulk billing
doctors, the less competitive forces within the private medical market place
and the higher the out of pocket expenses for individual patients.

Australia is able to provide a relatively good health care delivery system
that looks after the health care needs of all its citizens for around 9% of
Gross Domestic Product. Countries, like the United States, that do not have
a universal health care delivery system, spend around 15% of G.D.P. to
provide health care services for only some of their citizens.

The Howard government's much vaunted MEDICARE PLUS package has succeeded in
replacing a universal health care delivery system with a system that has
resulted in an exploding in health care costs for non-concession card
holders and that is creating a second rate system for concession care

The Labor Party's policy of restricting higher government fees to doctors
who bulk bill a significant number of their patients, will, if the scheduled
fee set reflects the cost of running a medical practice dramatically
increase the bulk billing rates in the country. High bulk billing rates are
the key to winning the Medicare trifecta, a universal health care delivery
system that is good for patients, doctors and the economy.

I was a little surprised that an experienced politician like former
Democrats Senator Sid Spindler has forgotten about the legislation he helped
to pass while he was in Federal parliament that relegated Senate independent
candidates to the dustbin of history. Sid Spindler is wrong to claim that
both Richard Franklin and Pauline Hanson are standing as independent Senate
candidates (Age 20/9, Herald Sun 20/9).

Under the Commonwealth Electoral Act, both Franklin and Hanson are standing
as unendorsed group candidates. By standing as a member of a group, they
are able to have the luxury of having a box placed above the line on the
Senate ballot paper. Our political masters are so scared that voters would
place a '1' in a box with the word independent written next to it, that it
is illegal for unendorsed group candidates to have the word independent
placed next to the box above their names. This means they will be left with
a box above their name on the Senate ballot paper with nothing written next
to it. The luxury of having a few words placed beside a box above the line
on a Senate ballot paper is reserved only for registered political parties.

On the other hand, if you are an ungrouped candidate who has handed over
your $700 deposit, but are running on your own, you can have the word
independent placed next to the box next to your name. Just in case you're
getting a little bit excited and are thinking about standing at the next
Federal election, think again because as an ungrouped candidate your name is
placed below the line on the Senate ballot paper.

If people want to vote for you because you have the word independent tacked
next to your name, they will have to fill in every box listed below the
line. As there are 65 candidates standing in Victoria for this Federal
election, they will have to put a number in every box below the line.
Traditionally as only about 5% of electors vote below the line in Senate
elections, ungrouped candidates who have the word independent place next to
their names have no chance of being elected and buckleys chance of receiving
4% of the vote and pocketing their $700 deposit.

As Pauline Hanson is standing with her sister and Richard Franklin is
standing with two other candidates, it's both incorrect and disingenuous for
Sid to label them as independents. They are, as far as the Commonwealth
Electoral Act is concerned, unendorsed group candidates.

I note New England Independent, Tony Windsor's claims that he had been
offered a diplomatic post if he did not stand for re-election, have been
referred to the Federal Police for investigation. I hope that a little more
notice is taken of his allegations than were taken of mine, when I wrote to
the Federal police in May about the allegations that were raised by Mr. John
Laws, about the Prime Minister John Howard, Mr. Flint, the former Chairman
of the Australian Broadcasting Authority and Sydney radio announcer Alan

Laws alleged that Jones boasted that before that last Federal election in
2001 he had told the Prime Minister that if he didn't reappoint Mr. Flint as
Head of The Australian Broadcasting Authority, he would use his Sydney radio
program to campaign against John Howard. Flint was reappointed, Jones
supported Howard and Howard was re-elected as Prime Minister.

Under Section 326 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act, the same section that
is being used in the Windsor case, it is a serious criminal offence to offer
an inducement to influence people to vote in a particular way, or to offer
an inducement to influence a person's candidature. Although the allegations
made by John Laws were supported by a number of creditable witnesses and
although the allegations if true, clearly breached the Commonwealth
Electoral Act, the Federal Police refused to investigate the allegations
raised. Interestingly Flint, resigned soon after the letter requesting an
investigation was sent to the Federal Police, senior political figures and
the media.

Although the letter to the Federal Police was widely circulated to the
media, not one media outlet bothered to report on the contents of the
letter. Four months later, the media and the A.L.P. seem to have got their
knickers in a knot about Tony Windsor's claims. Let's hope they have more
success with the Federal Police than I had. It's ironic that people find
themselves in court, fined and in some case jailed for not paying fines for
not voting, while allegations which go to the very heart of the integrity of
the electoral process which involve some of the most powerful figures in
this country, aren't even investigated.

A. Anarchist culture? Yes, anarchist culture. Does it exists? Yes and
no. Can it exist? Yes!!
CULTURE - 'customs, achievements of a particular civilisation and group'
Anarchist culture is determined by the building blocks of an anarchist
community - its principles of association. The ability of individuals to
live their life in what ever way they choose as long as their actions do not
impinge on the freedom of other people within that community encourages the
development of a diverse and vibrant anarchist culture. The more
authoritarian a community, the more homogenous the cultural expression
within that community. The hallmark and strength of anarchist culture is
its diversity. People don't dress the same, eat the same food or play the
same music. They are not forced to follow a particular religious viewpoint,
hide their sexual preferences or think the same thoughts.
The ability of individuals to express a wide number of cultural themes is
one of the hallmarks of an anarchist society. The other prominent feature
of anarchist culture is shaped by the cooperative principles that underpin
an anarchist community. The competitive practices that are reflected in
capitalist culture would be gradually replaced by more cooperative cultural
practices. Relationship between individuals and specific groups within an
anarchist community would help to create a cooperative cultural atmosphere.
Anarchist culture is both diverse and cooperative. Its diversity gives it
the ability to rapidly adapt to meet changing social, environmental and
economic conditions. Its ability to adapt gives it the strength to survive
challenges that destroy societies whose cultural expression is contained
within a rigid authoritarian framework.

Joseph Toscano and Steve Reghezzani will be appearing on the Victorian
Senate paper as ungrouped candidates. We will have a box placed above the
line that will not have a name next to it, as we are not a registered
political party. Why stand as candidates for the Senate election? We are
not actively canvassing votes during the election campaign and are standing
on a platform of 'FOLLOW YOUR CONSCIENCE'.
Australia is unusual as far as parliamentary democracies are concerned
because low voter turnouts at the turn of the 20th century resulted in the
passage of legislation that made voter registration and voting compulsory.
In 2004, about 93% of eligible voters are registered. About 92% of
registered votes cast a formal ballot, 5% don't vote and around 3% vote
We believe that voting in parliamentary elections is little more than 2
minutes of illusory power. It's also ridiculous to think that Australians
are forced by legislation to give a blank cheque to people who have very
little real power to make decisions on their behalf for the next 3 years.
We are using the electoral process to raise questions about the democratic
process, raising direct democracy as an alternative to parliamentary rule.
We are encouraging all those people who have no belief in the system, to
follow their conscience and not be forced by legislation to support a system
of government they have no faith or belief in. Those people who believe in
the parliamentary process, who believe that one political party is better
than another, should follow their conscience and vote for whoever they like.
These people who are sick and tired of broken promises and have no faith in
the system, should not be forced by legislation to support the parliamentary
The Anarchist Media Institute has been involved in vote informal campaigns
for some years. Our belief is that if there is a significant informal vote,
it will raise questions in the minds of the Australian community about the
legitimacy of the parliamentary process. Our campaign at the last Federal
election resulted in a significant increase in the Senate informal vote in
Victoria in comparison to the rest of Australia. In the 2001 Federal
election, 3.9% of votes cast for the Senate were informal. In Victoria, the
informal vote in the Senate was 5.6%. The informal vote in Victoria was 2%
higher than in any other State. (NSW 3.5%, QLD 3.0%, WA 3.6%, SA 3.1%, TAS
3.3%, ACT 2.3%, NT 2.8%). This year we're aiming for a 10% informal vote in
the Victorian Senate election and a higher informal vote in the rest of
Australia. We encourage readers who are casting a ballot to follow their
conscience when they vote on the 9th of October 2004.

Most historical sources put the loss of life during the Eureka rebellion at
around 30. They also claim that most of the deaths occurred during the
battle and that casualties were limited to soldiers and the miners within
the Stockade site. The facts tell a very different story.
At around 2.30am on Sunday 3rd December 1854, 182 mounted and foot soldiers
and 94 mounted and foot police assembled at the government camp. At around
3.30am they marched in perfect silence along Yarrowee Creek and as dawn was
breaking they rested beneath a slight rise, about 300 yards from the
Stockade site. Within the Stockade about half that number of miners were
sleeping. Many were sleeping off the effects of the free grog that
mysteriously appeared at the campsite on Saturday night.
The Stockade was a rather rudimentary affair. It had been hastily erected
out of timber that the miners used to reinforce their mining shafts. Those
miners and their families that had their tents pitched in the enclosure
before it was closed off, continued to live at the site.
The soldiers and police had relatively sophisticated weapons in comparison
to the weapons that the miners had access to. Weapons were in such short
supply among the miners, that many had only rudimentary pikes that had been
hastily made by the German blacksmith John Hafele, to defend themselves
At 4.45am the first shots were rang out. The miners were taken completely
by surprise, never dreaming they would be attacked on a Sunday. The
Stockade, which at best only enclosed about an acre of land, was surrounded.
About 30 troops from the 40th Regiment under the command of Captain Wise
attacked the site from the north. The main attacking force, a group of 112
soldiers and 34 police, broke into 2 groups and attacked the Stockade from
the west. While the 70 mounted police attacked from the south-west. Within
a few minutes, the Stockade had been breached from the west and the north.
Lalor gave the order that no firing was to place until the police and
soldiers were at close range. He took up a position on top of a miner's
mound exposing himself directly to the soldier and police fire. He ordered
the pikemen forward just before he was hit in the shoulder by 2 bullets and
a large musket ball. Around 30 pikemen under the leadership of Patrick
Curtain used their primitive pikes against soldiers who were armed with
muskets. Their lives bought the rest of the miners the few minutes they
needed to try to make their escape.

­ Ordinary Lives Behind The Battle Zone'
Fiona McKay, A Little Ark Book, Allen & Unwin '97, ISBN 1 86448 379 2
How do people explain what happened in Beslan to late primary and early
secondary school children? Sadly, the lives of children today, is
punctuated by daily digital images of the blooded corpses of children and
the legless survivors of the latest atrocity. If you know any children
between the ages of 8 to 13, War Torn by Fiona McKay, a short intense
account of how war affects the lives of ordinary people, could be one way
you can explain war to children. It's an excellent introduction to the
realities of war for children who have mastered the art of reading and who
are beginning to realise the daily diet of digital images they see on
television are real.
The book opens up with a short sharp account of the facts and figures about
war that never seems to hit the headlines. '9 out of 10 people killed or
hurt in war are not soldiers but civilians - ordinary men, women and
children who were trying to get on with their ordinary lives when war
struck'. Fiona pulls no punches, in her introduction she tells her young
readers 'Children are orphaned, killed, maimed, made homeless', 'Children as
young as 8 are forced to become soldiers, forced to kill'.
In 11 short stories, Fiona strips bare the realities of war, exposing the
stories about honour, glory and glamour, for the propaganda they are. I was
surprised to see that Chapter 6 - 'Michael's Story' looks at the reasons why
Australian anarchist Mike Matteson became a draft resistor in 1971. Fiona
cobbles together a TV, newspaper and a number of radio interviews that allow
Michael to tell his story in his own words. Throughout the book, she
inserts factual information about the events in little strategically placed
boxes in this brilliant 96-page book.
In Chapter 9 - 'War Games For Real Child Soldiers' she intertwines the
stories of children involved in war. In this fascinating chapter, Ghessan
from the West Bank, Alfredo from Mozambique, Bari from Afghanistan, Carlos
from El Salvador, Lydia from Uganda all tells their story. She intersects
their sad matter of fact words with the war notes - boxed sentences full of
information about conflicts that are happening round the world.
'War note - El Salvador 1979-92 Civil war broke out in 1979 between
government troops and a rebel guerilla group, the FMLN. About 75,000 people
were killed over the next 12 years.'
World War II, the Holocaust, resistance fighters, prisoners of war, draft
resistors, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, El Salvador, Cambodia, Somalia and many
other trouble spots that jump out of the TV screen, survivors tell their
Although written for children, this book is also suitable for adults who
don't read much. Fiona has done more to dispel the myths surrounding war in
96 pages, than any other author I know. This book would be an excellent
present for any child, young adult or older reader who are trying to make
sense of the disturbing digital images flashed across their TV screens.
Try your local library, 2nd hand bookshops or the publisher if you want to
get a hold of this excellent children's book.

The most disturbing aspect about the current election campaign is how few
real options are exposed to people. Even the most trivial reforms, are
painted as the death of civilisation as we know it. The domination of the
media by a handful of people has created a climate that allows those who own
the means of production, distribution and exchange to set the political,
social and cultural agenda in this country. They are able to mobilise the
extraordinary powers at their disposal to oppose even the most basic human
It's tragic to think that the Labor Party's attempt to improve access to
education for 95% of primary and secondary children by redirecting the tax
payer largesse that goes towards supporting the 5% of children who attend
the richest private schools in this country is being painted as an attack on
all Australians. The viscous targeting of the Greens and the Labor Party by
those elements in Australian society who dominate the media, highlights the
extraordinary control a handful of people are able to exert on Australian
If there is a lesson to be learnt from the avalanche of lies, half-truths
and manufactured stories that have accompanied this election campaign, it's
the extraordinary power that corporations who own the media are able to
exert to ensure that only policies that enhance their power, are presented
to voters. It's tragic to think that the political process in this country
has become a 2-minute exercise in political futility. It's disturbing to
think that this 2-minutes of illusory power is seen as such a threat to
those who own the means of production, distribution and exchange. It's such
a threat they are willing to use all the means at their disposal to prevent
any discussion about even the most basic and rudimentary reforms.
This malaise can only be halted if activists create their own media outlets
and use these outlets to widen public debate about what action needs to be
taken to destroy the grip the fourth estate has on the public consciousness.

Peter Ellingson's article in the Sunday Age (19/7) 'Why G.P's get sick,
suffer in silence' correctly lists the symptoms, but doesn't examine the
underlying reasons why General Practitioners and General Practise in
Australia is in crisis. Long hours, poor remuneration, isolation, legal
thuggery, a critical shortage of General Practitioners and a never-ending
avalanche of unnecessary paperwork, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Keeping in tune with the current medical fashion that individual problems
are essentially personal problems, the solutions proposed to tackle this
crisis is 'more psychological and emotional health care training and the
establishment of peer support groups where GP's can vent their concerns and
get advice' are unlikely to successfully tackle problems that reflect
significant social, cultural and political changes.
A community tsunami of despair, anger, frustration and hopelessness that is
directly related to the privatisation and commercialisation of all aspects
of human existence currently batter General Practitioners. The
disappearance of community organisations, the debasement of the political
process and the growing scandals enveloping religious organisations has
resulted in an avalanche of people turning to General Practitioners looking
for simple personal solutions for the angst gnawing at their souls.
General Practitioners can be compared to soldiers in an infantry brigade who
are facing an overwhelming well armed military force they know they are not
equipped to fight. Community problems require community solutions, social
problems require social solutions and political problems require political
solutions. To lump them together as personal problems that can be tackled
by a medical model is both wrong and counter productive.
What's extraordinary about the current situation is not that a small
percentage of General Practitioners face problems dealing with the
unrealistic expectations placed on them by their patients, the community and
society, but that so many of them continue to battle on doing what they can
in the face of the unremitting, unrealistic community pressures they face.
Joseph TOSCANO / Libertarian Workers
For A Self-Managed Society.

FREEDOM Vol.65 No.17,4th SEPT 2004, Anarchist Fortnightly, 84b Whitechapel
High St, London E17QX, ENGLAND Email:FreedomCopy@aol.com

P.O. BOX Swift Creek, 3896 VIC, AUSTRALIA, email: ngorak@bigpond.com
INTERNATIONALISM NO.131 SEPT/OCT '04, Publication of the Internal
Communist, Current in the US, P.O. BOX 288, NEW YORK N.Y., 10018-0288,
UNITED STATES www.internationalism.org

DEBT ELIMINATION APPEAL - Our debt stands at $924.25
OUR DEBT STANDS AT $924.25. Producing a weekly publication is an expensive
undertaking. As you can see, our debt is beginning to climb. In order to
keep the debt at a reasonable level and to publish weekly, we require
readers especially internet readers to subscribe to the AAWR. Currently
snail mail subscribers are cross subsidising internet readers. If you've got
a little bit of extra cash, think about joining the 'Dollar A Day' club.
When you write to us pop in some 50cent stamps (every little bit helps).
Subscription rates for the Anarchist Age Weekly Review are $1 per issue, $10
= 10 issues, $50 = 50 issues. We rely on our subscribers to keep a record
of when their subscriptions runs out and resubscribe. Make out money orders
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and send us 50cent stamps.
Debt 22-09-2004 $924.25

Join them in front of
(Cnr Swanston and LaTrobe Streets Melbourne)

TIME: 12.30PM
DATE: Monday 4th October 2004
(Cnr Swanston & LaTrobe St, Melbourne)
SPEAKERS: Julia GILLARD (Federal Opp. Health Shadow Minister)
Senator Lyn ALLISON (Democrats Health spokesperson)
Senator Kerry NETTLE (Greens Health spokesperson)
Leigh HUBBARD (Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council)
Joint National Convenor Defend and Extend Medicare
TO BE CONFIRMED: Tony ABBOTT (Federal Health Minister)
Lisa FITZPATRICK (Victorian Secretary Australian Nursing Federation)
Dr. Tim Woodruff (President Doctors Reform Society)

EUREKA PARK (Cnr Stawell & Eureka St) BALLARAT
To celebrate the 150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE EUREKA REBELLION at the site and
time it occurred. Community breakfast after dawn gathering.
9.00am - Walk to the Old Ballarat Cemetery to pay our respect to the dead,
then we walk through Ballarat to Bakery Hill to reaffirm the Eureka oath,
then we will walk back to Eureka Park for a community lunch and
Email: anarchistage@yahoo.com
Write: P.O. BOX 20, Parkville, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
For a poster, pass it on to your friends. Join us on the day.
Reclaim your history, change the future.
Join us at Ballarat at 4.00am on FRIDAY 3RD DECEMBER 2004

We now have a Trivial Pursuit Master to organise the questions and
We NEED A HALL IN MELBOURNE - Can anyone help?
(We are looking for a hall that has tables and chairs for at least 150)
We need YOU to organise a table of 10. Cost for a table of 10 = $100.
If you can't organise a table, don't worry, cost per person
$15 - (wage earners) - $10 - (non wage earners)
We are taking advance bookings from now. Make out cheques or money orders
I f you can help with the venue / hall call us ASAP ON 03 8508 9856 OR
Email us at anarchistage@yahoo.com

Interested in the Anarchist Age Weekly Review? Want to get hold of your own
copy, then download it from http://anarchistmedia.org/weekly.html.
Email it your friends, it's the cheapest and best birthday present you'll
ever buy them. Go on, be a devil, spoil the day of all those people you
know who wield power in society and email them the Anarchist Age Weekly

Awarded to David Murray the Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Bank for his
pathetic carping about the possibility that workers involved in workplace
disputes may win a few more rights to withdraw their labour if the ALP wins
the Federal election on October 9th.

Openly gay Democrat MP Brian Grieg has swapped preferences with a morally
conservative party that opposes gay marriage. In his maiden speech to
federal parl't, he said he'd known he was gay since the age of 12, & "this
has profoundly influenced my life & given me personal insight into
intolerance, prejudice & the hatred that I might not otherwise have
experienced." Senator Grieg said he'd no objection to a preference deal with
the Family First Party, who believe "families are the 'foundation stone of
society'" & oppose gay marriage. (Source: The Australian)
The fact a nurse was removed from a senior role just days after an argument
with NSW Health Minister Craig Knowles & this confrontation was mentioned
during the meeting where she was told she was removed, was complete
coincidence, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has heard. The
inquiry is examining whether Mr Knowles bullied & intimidated nurses who
were trying to expose poor patient care. Giselle Simmons was acting nursing
unit manager at Fairfield Hospital intensive care unit when she attended a
nursing workshop on Feb 14 last year. After Mr Knowles had addressed the
class, she challenged him over the lack of 24-hour critical care coverage at
her hospital, telling him "people weren't receiving good care & some people
were dying". Mr Knowles became aggressive & raised his voice, Ms Simmons
said. Soon after she spoke up at the workshop, Ms Simmons was removed from
her senior position at Fairfield Hospital. She alleges the then-director of
nursing, Elizabeth Graham, told her: "You don't say what you said to the
minister of health & get away with it." Ms Graham denied telling Ms Simmons
her career was over b/c of her confrontation with Mr Knowles. Ms Graham told
Ms Simmons her secondment was ending early, that she was returning to
Macarthur Health & that there was concern about the way she'd raised
allegations of poor patient care with Mr Knowles. However Ms Graham
maintained the confrontation with Mr Knowles had nothing to do with Ms
Simmons being removed & the fact that this issue was raised during the
meeting was "coincidental." (Source: SMH)
A US intelligence report says the best prospect for Iraq is "tenuous
stability" & the worst case civil war. The Nat'l Intelligence Estimate was
sent to the White House in July. Retired Gen William Odom, ex head of the
Nat'l Security Agency, said "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's
worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy
there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He added "right now, the course
we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends." W Andrew Terrill, professor at
the Army War College's strategic studies institute & its leading expert on
Iraq, said "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". Terrill said
the anti-US insurgency, which already holds several towns & cities is
expanding & becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy. Jeffrey
Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said "I see no ray of
light on the horizon at all." Since July 2003, 812 US soldiers have been
killed & 6,290 wounded according to official figures. Bush said in a recent
speech to the Nat'l Guard convention that "our strategy is succeeding."
(Source: poe-news.com)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that
unnerves me & causes me to tremble for the safety of my
country....corporations have been enthroned & an era of corruption in high
places will follow, & the money of the country will endeavor to prolong its
reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is
aggregated in a few hands & the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment
more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the
midst of war." Abraham Lincoln.
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