Peter Greste and the Silencing of Protest #100daysofblogging #Day22

Write What You're Told!In Egypt a yesterday, 3 al-Jazeera journalists including Australian Peter Greste received jail sentences of 7-10yrs on trumped up charges of ‘aiding terrorists’ and ‘endangering national security’.

So ironic as to be humorous, coming from a government which seized power in a military coup.

Their recent ‘Presidential Election‘ failed to get 50% of eligible voters even turn out, a major failure for any democratic system. Despite non-voters being threatened with large fines. Despite voting being open for a full 3 days.

For comparison, elections in Australia last year received a 93% turnout. As much as it pains me to say it, the Abbott Government is a legitimate government. shudder.

All is not OK for the democratic right to protest in Australia though. 

In the State of Victoria, the Liberal Party government passed extreme ‘anti protest’ laws allowing police to ban protesters from an area for up to 12 months. The Tasmanian Government have gone further, threatening activists and protesters with mandatory jail time. It’s not just government going on the attack against civilian movements.

Corporations are hiring ‘intelligence operatives’ to infiltrate activist networks and disrupt them, even here in Australia.

Continue reading Peter Greste and the Silencing of Protest #100daysofblogging #Day22

LNP’s $500m decision – 1 drone or 1million solar homes? #100daysofblogging #day14

Australia spends big on militaryToday’s posts title pretty much sums it up. At last years election the LNP were promising a to contribute $500 toward installing solar at 1,000,000 Australian homes.

Why has this $500,000,000 renewable energy policy been dumped?

I don’t remember seeing them campaign on ‘building more drones’.  But there is at least $3,500,000,000 in the budget to buy 7 of them. That’s $500,000,000 per drone.

Sure camera drones help in protecting and keep an eye out for intruders but at the times of global crisis such as global warming and many other things I don’t think spending $500,000,000 per drone makes any sense. I’m happy with the camera drone I have(not comparing, just stating) for which I didn’t have to spend much but the same thing, when applied on a global level, makes no sense.

We do not need drones. We are not in the middle of a global war. We should never EVER ‘expect’ to be involved in such a war again.

If such a situation arose, conventional arms would matter little as intercontinental ballistic missiles loaded with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads would rapidly annihilate us all. This ‘mutual destruction’ guarantee has been in place for more than 50 years now. Continue reading LNP’s $500m decision – 1 drone or 1million solar homes? #100daysofblogging #day14

Tiananmen Square 25 year anniversary checklist (gulp!) #100daysofblogging #day3

Yesterday was the 25 year anniversary of the June 3-4 massacre in Tiananmen Square, China.

Tiananmen Square Lego recreationThe massacre was the Chinese governments response to ongoing protests by students and pro-democracy activists who had been agitating for several years by then.

Students had previously protested in Tiananmen Square on New Years Day in 1987, with 24 ‘troublemakers’ being taken away by police. Then Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang is said to have resigned ‘as a result of the [recent] student demonstrations‘.

It was Hu’s death in 1989 which provided the initial impetus for students to march on Tiananmen Square, beginning on the night of April 15. On the night of April 17 thousands of students met and occupied the square.

On April 21 over 100,000 people marched on Tiananmen Square. Continue reading Tiananmen Square 25 year anniversary checklist (gulp!) #100daysofblogging #day3

March Against Monsanto, Agent Orange and GMOs

Last weekend I took part in the March Against Monsanto here in Perth.

It was a good turn out for Perth. Between 1500 and 2000 people attended on a day which started at Parliament House, continued with a march through the city and ended up with speeches in Raine Square.

Monsanto are the most unethical company in the worldresponsible for the likes of Agent Orange and genetically modified crops which had a variety of negative effects when independently tested on rats.

Monsanto are also responsible for promoting irresponsible use of ‘Round Up’, which we now know is linked with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Autism, Depression, Cancer and other medical conditions. It’s no surprise then that the local population are resisting Monsanto’s attempts to bully their way into WA’s agriculture industry.

Continue reading March Against Monsanto, Agent Orange and GMOs

Improving Democracy (Pie-chart Representation)

Recently I’ve been ruminating over a very interesting article entitled “Democracy Without Elections” by Australian journalist and fellow tweep (heavy twitter user), Austin G Mackell.

To fully understand what follows in this article, you should probably read his first. What Austin proposes represents a pathway toward replacing ‘representative’ democracy with ‘direct’ democratic participation in decision making, through allowing electors to choose positions on actual policy proposals before they are voted on.

While I support direct democratic participation as a desired end-goal I do not believe we are yet at a place in history where we can achieve this, despite rapid technological advancement. On the other hand, contained within Austin’s suggestions are other very practical methods for reforming the way political representation is determined within a parliamentary system, to allow increasing levels of citizen participation and ensure more equitable representation.

Part of this is achieved via making the vote ‘fluid’ – giving the voter the power to change who they support as their representative at their own demand. But that part will become a post of its own.

For now it is necessary to understand a proposed new system for allocating your “vote”. Continue reading Improving Democracy (Pie-chart Representation)