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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Governments can't create community spirit, but they can support inclusion | Anthony Albanese

Governments can't create community spirit, but they can support inclusion | Anthony Albanese

Governments can't create community spirit, but they can support inclusion








Assisting people into work, making cities that are well designed, and
supporting non-government groups and volunteers: that’s what
Australians expect from their governments



sydney



‘A good way to get people to become full participants in what life has
to offer – including the dignity of work – is to help them engage with
their local communities.’
Photograph: flickr


“Just because you’re better than me, doesn’t mean I’m lazy.” So sang a
young Billy Bragg in his song, To Have and To Have Not, in 1983.



The context of the emergence of progressive artists such as Billy
Bragg was a potent reaction to the British government of Margaret
Thatcher.



A few years after Bragg’s song, Thatcher famously declared “there is
no such thing as society”, as she sought to ideologically justify
policies that left people to fend for themselves.



Implicit in Thatcher’s bleak worldview was the idea that if you were
disadvantaged, it was your own fault. That’s heartless and absurd.
Ignoring or marginalising people who are disadvantaged, or even
dysfunctional, will do nothing to improve their circumstances.



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Indeed,
a good way to get people to become full participants in what life has
to offer – including the dignity of work – is to help them engage with
their local communities.



However, I fear that this trend toward pushing people down rather
than lifting them up will escalate in coming months with the appointment
of Scott Morrison as minister for social services.



Assisting people into work is a common objective because we have all
seen the harm welfare dependence can lead to. But the hidden message in
Morrison’s appointment is that he is about to be unleashed on people who
allegedly refuse to work.



Newspapers have been briefed to expect “welfare reform” under
Morrison. Columnists and editors are already using terms like bludgers
and rorters.



In the lead-up to Christmas, the Abbott government has announced
funding cuts to non-government organisations like Shelter Australia,
Blind Citizens Australia, Deaf Australia and Down Syndrome Australia.



Such groups play a vital role in supporting communities. And their success is usually driven in part by community volunteers.


Although there are those in the Abbott government who subscribe to
Thatcher’s doctrine, we’d do well to remind ourselves that it is
completely inconsistent with Australian values.



The values of mainstream Australian are on display right outside your
door right now – out in parks, pubs and churches where people are
coming together to celebrate Christmas.



In
the real world, far away from our nation’s parliaments and tabloid
hotheads, people are giving each other a fair go. They are dropping in
presents to their neighbours. My family looks forward to our next door
neighbour’s annual gift of a homemade ginger bread house.



Right now, people are rejoicing in what unites them. They are
encouraging each other, not blaming each other. They are embracing their
common humanity and trying to develop human interactions in ways that
enrich their lives.



Instead of setting people against each other, governments would achieve more if they did more to nurture communities.


Governments can’t create a community spirit. They can’t make people
be tolerant of each other, except through the personal example of
political leaders. But one thing they can do is deliver a physical
environment that promotes community engagement.



Promotion of inclusion through support of communities is one of the
drivers of federal Labor’s determination to develop comprehensive
policies on our cities. For too long, Australian governments have shown
inadequate interest in urban policy and the way in which well-designed
cities facilitate the human contact that people crave and which enriches
their lives.



We spend so much time designing our buildings that we give inadequate
thought to the spaces between those structures. If properly designed,
these spaces can provide focal points for local communities that
encourage interaction and inclusion.



It might be as simple as providing more shade around buildings and
more parks in our neighbourhoods. Greater use of mixed precincts that
include residential and public or entertainment space would also help
bring people together.



We need more parks, public areas and entertainment options that
deliver the environment in which communities flourish. We need
well-resourced libraries where people can come together to share
interests.



And we need to do all we can to ensure that hubs where people cross
paths most often – like shopping centres and train stations – also
include places where people can interact.



Some dismiss such ideas as not the province of the Commonwealth.
There is a role for commonwealth leadership to assist state and local
government as well as non-government organisations, to make our cities
more productive, sustainable and liveable.



When governments don’t value communities and when they treat people
as little more than economic units, people become alienated. Of course,
better urban design of itself won’t stop welfare dependence. Governments
should seek to encourage people into the workforce by providing
adequate resources for education and training and by eliminating welfare
fraud.



But better urban design will certainly help more than treating welfare recipients like cannon fodder in the political debate.


Thatcher was simply wrong when she said there was no such thing as society.


It’s right outside our door and we are all part of it. If we make our
communities work in positive ways, their power far exceeds that of the
sum of their component parts and can be used to achieve great social
outcomes.



But first we need to reject the idea that anyone on welfare has given
up and does not want to work. As Billy Bragg sang more than 30 years
ago, “Just because you’re going forward, doesn’t mean I’m going
backwards.”

Friday, 5 December 2014

A plan to get into government, but no plan to govern.



ANTHONY ALBANESE THE LABOR RANK AND FILE CHOICE FOR LEADER OF THE LABOR PARTY
YOU CAN TRUST ALBO NOT TO SELL OUT OUR LABOR VALUES

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Fair Pay for the Australian Defence Force - The Today Show



Published on 6 Nov 2014





Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Tony Abbott can't win the battle of ideas with no ideas

Tony Abbott can't win the battle of ideas with no ideas

Tony Abbott can't win the battle of ideas with no ideas







Tony Abbott’s negativity made him a formidable opposition leader, but
the cynical opportunism of that time has held him back as prime
minister










tony abbott

‘The opposition leader who promised so much has morphed into a confused
prime minister – a man rapidly sinking into the quicksand of his own
negativity’ Photograph: AAP



Those
great philosophers, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, wrote and sang in
1965: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. Australian voters might be
reminding themselves of this today, as they consider the disappointment
known as the Abbott government.



This is a government defined by disappointment, deceit and incompetence.


The opposition leader who promised so much has morphed into a
confused prime minister – a man rapidly sinking into the quicksand of
his own negativity. The source of this government’s dysfunction is the
cynical opportunism of its period in opposition.



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Most
parties in opposition focus on holding governments to account and on
rebuilding their credibility by developing new ideas. Like Dan Andrews
did in Victoria, they make themselves participants in the battle of
ideas.



When the Abbott government was in opposition its only focus was on
attacking the former Labor government. As opposition leader, the prime
minister built his entire case for power on anti-Labor hatred and
three-word slogans.



Everything was about politics and nothing was about policy.


That is why the Tories have retreated to their comfort zone today.
Without positive ideas they have been forced to lean heavily on Tony
Abbott’s regressive and punitive personal ideology – one that values
individualism ahead of equity and opportunity.



Abbott’s negativity did make him a formidable opposition leader, but
it makes him a pretty bad prime minister. We now see that negativity is
all he ever had. It is his only weapon. He is a one-trick Tony.



You cannot win the battle of ideas if you have no ideas; you cannot
run an economy on three-word slogans; you do not create jobs by saying
“no” to everything; and you do not inspire people by misleading them.



Before the election, the prime minister promised no cuts to health,
education, pensions, the ABC or SBS. He promised no new taxes. In
government, he has cut $80bn from health and education, slashed funding
for the ABC and SBS and created new taxes whenever people visit a GP or
fill up their car at the petrol bowser.



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Rubbing
salt into the wounds, he has since insulted the electorate’s
intelligence with Monty Pythonesque claims that he has not broken any
promises.



The prime minister is on the wrong side of history; his place defined
not by leadership and forward-thinking but by a sad yearning for a less
equal and less progressive past – a place where average Australians pay
a Medicare levy every week only to be told they have to pay again to
visit a doctor; where education is about entrenching privilege, not
spreading opportunity; where climate science is derided; and where a
visiting US president’s praise for the splendour of the Great Barrier
Reef is attacked by those opposite as an affront to our national
sovereignty.



It is a place where our renewable energy target has been so
successful that it has to be scrapped; where we have only one woman in
the cabinet; where radio shock jocks and partisan newspaper columnists
set the government’s political agenda; where bigotry is a right; where
people communicate over ageing copper wire rather than 21st century
fibre; and a place where the long-faded trappings of our colonial past
are revived through the reintroduction of the British honours system.



The Abbott government has misread the egalitarian nature of
Australian culture. Australians care about the fair go. Australians
support measures to improve the budget, but they are not stupid.



They know that when a single income family on $65,000 a year will be
$6,000 a year worse off every year, while corporate tax cheats are a
protected species, that budget repair is being used as a cover for an
ideological agenda. The 2014 budget was not a plan for the future but an
attack on the gains of the past. Australians know it is unfair and they
are demanding better.



In my own area of infrastructure, the prime minister has treated his election promises like plates at a Greek wedding.


The government said it would preserve the independence of
Infrastructure Australia. What they have done is try to remove that
independence through legislation – an attempt abandoned only after
pressure from Labor and business groups, including the Business Council
of Australia, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and, indeed,
Infrastructure Australia itself.



The government said they would reappoint Sir Rod Eddington as the
chairman of Infrastructure Australia but they appointed a former Liberal
party minister instead. They said they would not invest in
infrastructure without cost-benefit analysis to ensure value for money.
Then they took money from Infrastructure Australia priority projects
that had had cost-benefit analysis done and reallocated it to the East
West Link, Westconnex and a Perth freight link.



The government said there would be cranes and bulldozers at work on
new projects within 12 months of their election. But there are no
bulldozers, just bull dust.



They said they would pay money to states for infrastructure projects
in stages, based on the achievement of milestones. Then they gave the
Victorian government a $1.5bn advance payment for the East West Link, a
project that has not commenced construction.



They pretend they are investing in new infrastructure, but they
continue to travel the nation on a magical infrastructure
re-announcement tour, seeking ownership of existing projects funded by
the previous Labor government.



Worst of all, the few new road projects in the budget are being
funded by cuts to all Commonwealth investment in public transport
projects not under construction.



The prime minister, in his manifesto Battlelines, wrote:


Mostly there just aren’t enough people wanting to go from a
particular place to a particular destination at a particular time to
justify any vehicle larger than a car and cars need roads.



That is an absurd proposition for any national leader to make in 2014.


I do not remember a more cringeworthy moment than when he had an
opportunity to speak to the world’s leaders about a vision for the
future at the recent G20 meeting in Brisbane. Abbott’s contribution
involved whinging about Australians not supporting his GP tax and
proudly declaring he had removed a price on carbon.



There is no issue too big for Abbott to show how small he is. Serious
world leaders want to act on climate change and envy our system of
universal health care.



The problem is not that Abbott is stuck in the past. It is that he
wants the rest of Australia to go back there and keep him company.



Australians are sick of the negativity this government has brought to national political debate.


They want a government to focus on what really matters: them, jobs,
access to health care, equity of opportunity through access to
education; cities that are productive, sustainable and liveable; healthy
communities that value diversity; and an integrated transport system
that includes both public transport and roads.



Above all, Australians want a government that governs in accordance with Australian values, like that of the fair go.




Albanese Brands 'Negative Abbott' A 'One Trick Tony' In Stinging Parliamentary Attack | newmatilda.com

Albanese Brands 'Negative Abbott' A 'One Trick Tony' In Stinging Parliamentary Attack | newmatilda.com

Albanese Brands 'Negative Abbott' A 'One Trick Tony' In Stinging Parliamentary Attack



By Chris Graham





If
you like passionate politics and zinging one-liners, then Anthony
Albanese's speech in parliament today won’t disappoint. Chris Graham
reports.




Labor
heavyweight Anthony Albanese has delivered a stinging rebuke of the
Abbott Government in parliament today, describing the Prime Minister as
‘one-trick Tony’, courtesy of his incessant negativity in opposition and
government.



Speaking to an almost empty parliamentary committee room, the
Opposition spokesman on Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism delivered a
speech that was clearly pitched at the party faithful. Although this is
one of those occasions where you can actually pick your party – both
Labor and Liberal appear to be heartily sick of Abbott.



As all good ageing hippies should, Albanese began his speech with a reference to the Rolling Stones.


“Those great philosophers Jagger and Richards wrote and sang in 1965
‘I can’t get no satisfaction’. Australian voters might be reminding
themselves of this today as they consider the disappointment known as
the Abbott Government,” Albanese said.



And then he got nasty.


“This is a government defined by disappointment, deceit and
incompetence. The opposition leader who promised so much has morphed
into a confused Prime Minister, a man rapidly sinking into the quicksand
of his own negativity.



“Not only can he not lead the nation, he cannot even lead his own
government, which is desperately split on policy and political direction
and crippled by internal power struggles.



“The source of this government’s dysfunction is the cynical opportunism of its period in opposition.


“Most parties in opposition focus on holding governments to account
and rebuilding their credibility by developing new ideas. That’s what
Dan Andrews did in Victoria in the past few years. He made himself a
participant in the battle of ideas and now he is Premier of Victoria.



“When the Abbott Government was in opposition its only focus was attacking the former Labor government.


“As Opposition Leader the Prime Minister transformed the Coalition
into the Noalition, building his entire case for power on anti-Labor
hatred and three word slogans.



“Everything about politics, and nothing about policy.


“That’s why the Tories have retreated to their comfort zone today.
Without positive ideas, they’ve been forced to lean heavily on Tony
Abbott’s regressive and punitive personal ideology, one that values
individualism ahead of equity and opportunity.



“The Prime Minister’s negativity did make him a formidable opposition leader, but they make him a pretty bad Prime Minister.


“We now see that negativity is all he ever had. It is his only weapon. He is a one trick Tony.”


And you’ll note Albanese hasn’t even got to the part about Abbott’s broken promises yet. Or the budget.


“You can’t win the battle of ideas if you have no ideas. You can’t
run an economy on three word slogans. You don’t create jobs by saying no
to everything. And you don’t inspire people by misleading them.



“Before the election, the Prime Minister promised no cuts to health,
education, pensions, the ABC or SBS. He promised no new taxes.



“In government he has cut $80 billion from health and education,
slashed funding for the ABC and SBS and created new taxes, whenever
people visit a GP or fill up their car at the petrol bowser.



“Rubbing salt into the wounds, he has since insulted the electorates’
intelligence with Monty Python-esque claims that he hasn’t broken any
promises.”




And at this point, Albanese really got started, zeroing in on the
Coalition’s real weak spot – virtually everything it’s done since it got
in office.



“The Prime Minister is on the wrong side of history, his place
defined not by leadership and forward thinking but by a sad yearning for
a less equal and less progressive past. A place where average
Australians pay a Medicare levy every week, only to be told they have to
pay again to visit a doctor. A place where education is about
entrenching privilege not spreading opportunity. Where climate science
is derided and where a visiting US president’s praise for the splendor
of the Great Barrier Reef is attacked by those opposite as an affront to
our national sovereignty.



“It’s a place where our renewal energy target has been so successful
that it has to be scrapped, where we have only one woman in the cabinet,
where radio shock jocks and partisan newspaper columnists set the
government’s political agenda, where bigotry is a right, where people
communicate over ageing copper wire rather than 21st century fibre, a
place where the long-faded trappings of our colonial past are revived
through the re-introduction of the British honours system.



“The Abbott Government has misread the egalitarian nature of
Australian culture. Australians care about the fair go. Part of what
defines us is a generosity of spirit, one that embraces a sense of
community and common interest.”



Which is all, of course, true.


But you might equally argue that the parliamentary wing of the
Australian Labor Party has misread the electorate too, by installing
Bill Shorten to the leadership position, rather than Albanese.



You might also wonder why this sort of parliamentary theatre is delivered to an empty committee room.


Either way, Albanese’s stirring speech suggests that Labor senses
there’s more than a few drops of Prime Ministerial blood in the water,
and they intend to finally start turning up the heat.



It’s the final sitting week of parliament for 2014… expect things to descend from here.


You can watch the full 10 minute speech on Albanese’s Facebook page here. Albanese moves onto transport and infrastructure, and a brief tirade on the G20.


* New Matilda is an independent Australian media outlet that relies almost entirely on reader subscriptions for its survival. You can help fund New Matilda here. 


Monday, 1 December 2014

Anthony Albanese on ALP Party Reform - ABC24 Afternoon Live



ALBO OUR NEXT PRIME MINISTER
SOME THINGS DO NOT CHANGE.