Friday, 17 January 2020

List of Australian Independent Media

Do you remember the feeling when you were a child and someone took away a tattered possibly dangerous toy, a favourite book or said "You're a big kid now, you don't need that any more"?

The wise person in your life would have immediately replaced the removed item with something more interesting. The gap caused by the loss or habit was filled & satisfied!

The same with media. When we discover that particular groups no longer support our needs, values or morals, it's time to change AND replace it with more diverse options.
Australian Independent Media!
Thanks to the Gosford Anglican Church
for the reminder that our brains need to be nurtured
 along with our bodies!
I have an A4 sheet with Australian Independent Media which I cut up and give to
people who have little idea of the good range of options we have!
You can also tuck them under the sugar bowl at cafes, put them in msm papers
and leave them in all sorts of places where people can see the great range of 

choices we have! 

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Why has Australia's mainstream media consistently supported the current government?

9 years ago

The Australian Labor Party, with Julia Gillard as leader, had a comprehensive range of policies which would have strengthened communities and our environment prior to the current bushfire crisis.

Policies included
technology - an effective and efficient NBN
and effective action to address climate change 

Meanwhile a brutal campaign was run by the then opposition (current coalition of Liberal & National Parties which now govern Australia (aka LNP or Coalition)) supported by our extremely concentrated media landscape and influential voices that didn't support these policies.

Peta Credlin admits the climate change policy under Julia Gillard's Labor government was never a carbon tax, but the coalition used that label to stir up brutal retail politics.Credlin, the former chief of staff to Tony Abbott when he was prime minister and now a political commentator for Sky News, said the coalition made it a "carbon tax" and a fight about the hip pocket rather than the environment."That was brutal retail politics, and it took Abbott six months to cut through and when he did cut through Gillard was gone," she told Sky News on Sunday.
In addition, the then opposition leader, Tony Abbott pledged that there'd be 

pledges all broken by his and subsequent coalition governments. None of this has been in the best interests of citizens. 

The impact of lack of media diversity, and partisan media, painting the coalition as unquestioningly positive, while Labor's policies were irresponsible, has had a devastating impact as we now see with the terrifying bushfires. 

Lack of action since 2003
More here about the impact of the government's policies and decisions going back to the 2003  A Nation Charred: Report on the inquiry into bushfires 

There are links related to defunding research, avoiding recommendations, cutting staff against advice, delaying or ignoring requests for meetings. 

The polices, obstruction or lack of action have had a negative impact on: firefighters from volunteers to professionals in various departments, efficient and effective response to the scale and intensity of the fires, citizens (loss of life & trauma), jobs, farming, agriculture, water, birds, animals, health, insects, trees, koalas, roos, and will continue to impact the timeliness and efficiency of recovery of individuals and communities.

Questions to ponder
Why was, and is, some media so keen to present one political group as good and the others as irresponsible

Why don't they discuss the impact of policy, or lack of it, on citizens & our environment?

Why do they mock valid concerns about climate change?

Who are they mates with?

How do they benefit?

Soundbites are no substitute for policy

Slogans are no substitute for policy

Outsourcing decision making to the media isn't smart

Australian Govt bushfire response FACT CHECK

A selection of FACTS related to the current bushfires in Australia. Fact Check by the Climate Council.
The requests for assistance in the lead up to the fire season were not solely concerned with defence force allocations. Groups such as the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) clearly requested additional funding for national aerial firefighting equipment well before this bushfire crisis. By the time the Prime Minister finally decided to provide funding for this equipment, four months had passed and 2.7 million hectares had already burned.
Over 30 years ago
in 1985, the Liberal Party’s David Connolly suggested the Federal Government should expand its role and show leadership in managing bushfires.
Government inaction & obstruction is familiar

More information on government policy and decisions that have had a negative impact on citizens and our environment is here: 

Is the scale of the Australian Bushfires related to government policy?

There are articles about funding cuts, obstruction, deflection & avoidance.

Inaction has been systemic over many years including not adopting the recommendations from the 2003 report:


Friday, 10 January 2020

Why was Australia so underprepared for the bushfires?

Australia's media ownership
Although there have been some changes to Australia's media landscape since 2016, it's helpful to get an understanding about how we ended up critically underprepared for the current fires.
Market research firm IBISWorld noted in June 2016 that:
The industry’s four largest players, News Australia, Fairfax Media, Seven West Media and APN News and Media, are estimated to account for over 90% of industry revenue in 2015-16. The Australian media landscape is one of the most concentrated in the world. An extremely small number of firms, most notably News Australia and Fairfax Media, publish content that reaches the large majority of Australians.

TV and radio

A June 2016 report on Australian free-to-air TV broadcasting by market research firm IBISWorld said:
The industry displays a high market share concentration … Australian media and broadcasting industries are highly concentrated in comparison with the rest of the world.
News Corp owns controlling stakes in Foxtel – which has a monopoly in the pay TV market – and Sky News, which is carried by Foxtel.

Tragically for Australia, we're now experiencing the outcome the our lack of diversity in mainstream media.

Few articles alerted readers to the advice which was ignored, recommendations obstructed, & lack of preventative action taken, or about the impact of defunding research and gutting the public service.

Australian mainstream news media has been described as a political propaganda entity
The dominant narrative is that the Coalition or LNP (the Liberals & Nationals combined) are the only party worthy of our vote.
(NOTE: Australian Liberals are US conservatives & UK Tories)
It sounds unreal to say that News Corp is not a media organisation. It sounds outrĂ© to say that it is instead a political propaganda entity of a kind perhaps not seen since the 19th century, one that has climbed to its pedestal through regulatory capture, governmental favours and menace
These fires are NOT normal but you wouldn't know that if you only see headlines in the dominant msm.

These fires were predicted, but you wouldn't know that if your media diet doesn't include Independent Media.
New Scientist:
In 2008, a report commissioned by the Australian government predicted that from about 2020, global warming would cause Australia’s fire seasons to start earlier, end later and be more intense. “We knew this was going to happen”.
Yet, despite this and the 2003 Report "A Nation Charred: Report on the inquiry into bushfires"
"the Australian government has acted almost as if nothing unusual is happening. In November, deputy prime minister Michael McCormack told ABC Radio that “we’ve had fires in Australia since time began”. He dismissed the role of climate change in the current fires as the “ravings of some pure, enlightened and woke capital-city greenies”.
Meanwhile the Guardian reports:
“We know it’s getting drier, we know it’s getting ... er, you know, situations in parts are getting very warm,” McCormack said, before indicating the government was taking sensible action on climate change – which was the kind of action that didn’t inconvenience anyone, and particularly not the coal industry.
The deputy prime minister also thought /climate protestors in Melbourne, were getting “way too much publicity; they crave for that, they yearn for that”. These people, he asserted, were “inner-city raving lunatics”.

Is the scale of the bushfires in Australia related to government policy?
For some of the government decisions, obstruction and inaction which have had an impact on the current devastation see this thread collated by Kara Schlegl. 

For yearsexperts have repeatedly warned federal governments about the impacts of climate change denial, deforestation, urbanisation, and the impending bushfires.

Yet the government was reluctant to even support the most basic of preventative measures - and the murdoch media encouraged Australians to vote for them with a devastatingly effective "kill bill" campaign.

Breaking news
Finance manager resigns over NewsCorp dangerous and damaging misinformation
"I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies. The reporting I have witnessed in The AustralianThe Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun is not only irresponsible, but dangerous and damaging to our communities and beautiful planet that needs us more than ever to acknowledge the destruction we have caused and start doing something about it." 

A selection of murdoch media
thanks to @slpng_giants_oz


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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Is the scale of the Australian Bushfires related to government policy?

Is the scale of the Australian Bushfires related to government policy?
Spoiler - Yes.
Watch the video even if you don't read the thread. It's powerful.

A detailed account of how the Government has failed us on Climate Change, again and again and again. I worked on this with @tomcballard @ChamberlinM & @closest_eves at Tonightly. Let Tom's rage power you through these terrible and terrifying days.

A year on and this isn't even satire anymore. #AustraliaOnFire #AustraliaBurning
Here's a list of reasons why the scale of the bushfires in Australia is absolutely the Coalition Government's fault.

Advice ignored
The Morrison Government ignored expert advice, that's been rolling in since April 2019, saying they would need specialist equipment, including water-bombers, to fight off unprecedented bushfires this season.
Twenty-three former fire and emergency leaders say they tried for months to warn Prime Minister Scott Morrison that Australia needed more water-bombers to tackle bigger, faster and hotter bushfires. ABC

State cuts funding
As part of their '$3.5 billion shake up' to the public sector, the NSW Liberal State Government CUT $12.9 million from Fire & Rescue NSW, plus $26.7 million from the volunteers (Office of NSW Rural Fire Services).

While Scott Morrison offers thoughts and prayers to bushfire victims, the NSW Liberal Party has cut tens of millions from state fire services. Crikey
Vegetation isn't the enemy
The Morrison Government's response to the 2018 bushfires in Queensland was to attempt an inquiry into state land-clearing laws designed to protect much needed vegetation - blaming the trees for the fires.

The Labor premier said:

“If you want to know what caused those conditions, I’ll give you an answer – it’s called climate change”
"every candidate at the next federal election must reveal their stance on global warming, so voters would know if they were supporting climate change deniers or not." The Guardian
Premier begs for bushfire assistance
During the 2018-2019 bushfire season, the premiere of Tasmania had to BEG the Federal Government for extra assistance because federal funding (the NDRRA) doesn't support protection or relief for World Heritage Listed areas, or non-populated sites.

Relief NOT prevention

The Morrison Government's strategy to tackle climate change natural disasters has been solely focussed on injecting money into relief efforts after the event, with no new funding allocated to prevention and protection.
The strong business case for investing in disaster risk reduction has been underlined for some time by groups as diverse as the Australian Productivity Commission and the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities.The US National Institute of Building Sciences, for example, found that every dollar invested in mitigation can save six dollars in future disaster costs. The Strategist 
Lack of support for bushfire prevention
It isn't only the Government's spurious claims and ineptitude around Climate Change that are hurting us, it's their reluctance to even support the most basic of preventative measures. Including making enormous budget cuts to research and public services.
Government investment in research and development is at its lowest in 40 years
"Australian scientists have expressed disappointment over a budget update that cuts Aus$328.5 million from research funding that had been expected over the next four years." It will "rob Australians of life-saving treatments, research to help prevent floods and bushfires, and advances in almost every aspect of people’s lives" Nature
Where did the funding go?
That relief wilderness funding Tasmania begged for? It never came. Morrison has a long history of PROMISING relief funding for disaster efforts, and then deferring that funding to a later date - Delaying recovery efforts and making communities even more vulnerable. ABC

Decisions delayed, environmental positions unfilled, requests for meetings ignored & budget cuts.
Just last month, (December 2019) Morrison announced even more cuts to the public sector (the Government has cut billions). These services have a direct impact on fire prevention, rescue and relief including health, environment, research, communications, and community services like the ABC.

Disengagement with Environmental issues has been consistent.

Former Environmental Minister Melissa Price did the exact same disappearing act in the 2018-2019 bushfire season as many of our ministers have done this season.
The Guardian

More warnings ignored
While experts warned federal governments about the impacts of climate change denial, deforestation, and the impending bushfires, Environment Minister Sussan Ley invested her energy into getting Adani across the line and feral cats. I'm not joking.
Ley, who welcomed the Queensland government’s decision on Thursday to give the green light to the Adani coalmine, told Guardian Australia she wanted to see more action on recycling, threatened species and biodiversity protection, and a greater focus on individual action to achieve a better environment.
On climate change, Ley said she was “interested” in the emissions reduction task of government /and said she believed the Coalition’s climate solutions fund is “where we need to be”. The Guardian
Ignorance about the koala crisis 
And though she has been very performative about protecting wildlife and links to climate change, it's clear Sussan Ley is ignoring experts and has no idea what she's doing.

The major issues which need to be dealt with have been ignored. No moratorium on deforestation, mining projects or massive urbanisation development projects relevant to NSW and Queensland. NO EFFORT to address climate change impacts and the urgent need for protected refuge areas. NO PLANS to deal with ongoing drought impacts.
The situation is very concerning. Primary koala areas have been experienced a terrible drought for a long time, there’s massive dieback in the forests. No flowering, barely any new leaf growth.
Koala carers were already screaming for help because they were picking up joeys abandoned by their mothers who were struggling to survive. They can’t produce milk, the leaves have no nutritional value. This situation is going to be a major problem for sustaining koalas who have survived.
Taggart spells out the long-term impacts on trees that sustained fires so hot that they will not recover and produce pollen and nectar for at least 20 years 
‘Marsupials and nighttime animals use pollen as protein and nectar as energy. There’s going to be a real impact on native animals, gliders in particular. IndependentAustralia
Years of obstruction
Maybe the most insidious and dangerous member of Morrison's cabinet, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has been standing in the way of Climate related progress and policy for years.

Does Australia have a climate change record to be proud of? Spoiler - No
The Guardian

Funding stripped from Centrelink - AGAIN
Most bushfire disaster relief payments are made through Centrelink, as well as some RFS volunteer funds. The same Centrelink the Coalition has made a sport of stripping funding from for years. The Centrelink that Morrison targets again and again.
"harsh and short-sighted cuts: 18,000 jobs slashed and up to another 4500 predicted in 2017. More just last month.
unless the government uses this budget to begin a concerted and long-term effort to repair the damage it's caused, the problems will only worsen. Ordinary Australians will bear the brunt through shoddy services and more. Even a small increase in the so-called "efficiency" dividend, /would have a disastrous effect given how under-resourced key agencies are already.
THOUSANDS of regional jobs have been cut.
Instead of sensible policy, the Turnbull government uprooted the "Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to Armidale at great cost, losing specialist regulatory scientists along the way. The Senate inquiry has made clear the damage to the pesticides authority.SMH
In fact, I would argue the Morrison Government has, more than any Government before it, campaigned to make 'public services' the enemy, those same public services who are on the ground right now, saving our country against all odds.

We're all aware of the Government's blistering incompetence when the fires started, but here is a great refresher from November, including Morrison refusing overseas assistance.
the NSW Premier and PM have recently taken and/or failed to take action that can reasonably be expected to have serious negative consequences for firefighters, communities and individuals threatened by bushfires — both currently and into the future. Independent Australia
Cuts over many years - 2011
But this didn't start with Morrison. It didn't even start with Tony "volunteer firefighter" Abbott and his cuts to services and systematic undermining of relief and recovery efforts.
the NSW RFS budget was cut from $307 million to $287 million in 2011-12.  infrastructure items such as tankers and capital equipment and control centre [construction] is [affected]
More cuts to come
Both the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue in metropolitan areas face cuts to jobs and wages. The bulk of the RFS are already volunteer firefighters who take time off work to face fire emergencies. This means many are retirees, with a third of Queensland’s volunteers aged over 55. Cutting the few full-time staff will leave it even less equipped to fight fires.
What happened to the recovery payments?
Abbott’s federal government tightened the rules for disaster recovery payments to people affected by the fires, denying people cut off from their homes or without power and water for extended periods any
And yes there are failings from the other parties, ludicrous ones that beggar belief, but there is no party that has consistently harmed our environment, successfully undermined anti-climate change campaigns, and hurt firefighting efforts more than the Coalition. This is on them.

"A Nation Charred" 2003 - recommendations still not implemented
Attaching this tweet to the end here, so you have access to the link. I implore everyone to read this report from 2003. It's heartbreaking, but so important. #AustraliaOnFire

If you want to read the full report, with all the recommendations this Government didn't implement, here it is. Fair warning, it'll probably cause an emotional response you don't expect, like crying, or screaming, or punching a wall.

Search Results

Everything in this report still applies. Including the catastrophic lack of urgency & responsibility from politicians.
"If those very same notes are not considered or acted upon by policy makers and decision takers... that would indeed be the greatest tragedy of all" 
"These failures are systemic to the Coalition Government, who ignored the 2003 committee recommendations to develop a national strategy, to incentivise volunteer services, to invest in tech and research to model the rapid response on defence forces etc etc.
Some background on this is that we uncovered so much horrific shit Australian governments have done (or failed to do) in the face of impending climate change disaster that I still have nightmares about it, & I also fell out of love with Paul Keating which made me very depressed.

And the most INFURIATING THING is that Bob Hawke was one of the first leaders in the WORLD to attempt to centre policy on Climate Change. We could've been global leaders in this. We almost were.

in 1987, Hawke began to give speeches about the importance of action against the emerging threat of global warming.
Hawke was in the Lodge during the crucial period when Australia first became aware of – and tried to grapple with – the issue of climate change. And the trajectory of his leadership, not to mention the manner and timing of his political demise, leaves behind a huge question of what might have been The Conversation
These articles were collated by Kara Schlegl on Twitter and are shared here with permission. Twitter @karaschlegl