Wednesday, 30 April 2014

End middle and upper class welfare - ACOSS

Must say, I do find the Australian Council of Social Services a refreshing voice in the face of Abbott's maniac, ideological driven, capitalist nirvana for the most richest and well off in the community. It's so frustrating to see the media moguls towing the Abbott line and floating his ideas, with little voice or representation from us scumbags who dare to be reliant on gov welfare. 

In this case ACOSS takes aim at the Abbott gov's priorities in the lead up to next month's budget. Saying clearly that if there is to be budget pain, making poor people poorer isn't the way to go. That in fact getting the poor to bear the most budget pain is wrong. 
The Australian Council of Social Service today urged the Federal Government to prevent unnecessary cuts to vital payments for some of the most disadvantaged people on the lowest incomes in the country, as it prepares its first Budget. 

“If proposals under discussion were implemented, pensions for people with a disability, carers, sole parents and older people would be much lower in future and people on the lowest incomes could not afford to visit the doctor when they need to,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie. 

“In his speech last night the Prime Minister said, ‘'this budget won't be for the rich or the poor but for the country'. Yet so far it appears that most of the pain will be borne by people who can least afford it. 

“We urge the Government to stand firm in its commitment to target government funding to the people who need it. This is a Budget that should be there for people who are poor, including the almost 600 000 children living in poverty. 

Government support for people who do not need assistance should be targeted, by reducing tax concessions, rebates and supplements which are benefiting people in the higher income brackets in our society. This would be good policy. 

“Superannuation tax breaks cost the same as the age pension (around $40 billion a year) and one quarter of their value goes to the top 5% of wage earners. It’s time to put superannuation reform, and the generosity of the pension assets test, on the Budget agenda. 

The Seniors Supplement and private health insurance rebates for ancillaries are also poorly targeted, and disproportionately benefit higher income households. 

“A fairer alternative to cutting the payments and services most needed by people on low incomes is to restore budget revenue. The mooted ‘deficit levy’ could help pay more of the future cost of the NDIS and health care and avoid policies such as $6 GP co-payment that would harm people on low incomes, but it lacks a clear purpose and as it stands it is only temporary. It would be removed in a few years’ time, just when the budget is coming under the greatest pressure. 

“Reducing indexation for pensions to inflation only instead of wage movements would inevitably increase poverty as people on the lowest income fall further behind the rest of the community. One of the main reasons Newstart Allowance is only $36 a day now is that it has only been indexed to the CPI for the last 20 years. more
Even if there was a token gesture to the most well off (1% levy for 4 years for people earning over $80,000 a year) to cut pensions where there is no room to cut would grossly impact budget pain to the poorest and lowest earners in our country.

Let me just give my example. My income after rent from the DSP. Anyone wanna take a guess at how much/little it is? I have $250 a week to pay for everything. That includes utilities, groceries, everything to do with actually living. There is not one fuckin cent to spare, and at times I've had no choice but to use the credit card or don't eat. I am now on the way again going into debt. I only hope that this debt can be kept under some sort of control until I can start drawing on my superannuation in 5 years time.

To cut my pension, over an invented "budget emergency", even if it means slowly starving me over the coming years, would probably be the cruelest and most heartless thing any gov has done to me in my 52 years of life.

G.W. Bush's artwork :)

Reply from embroidery shop banning gays

I received an email reply from Herald Embroidery in KY, USA, in regards to their banning gays in their shop. It was an unusual thing for me to do as I don't at all voice my opinion to a shop outside Australia about anything. This was an unusual circumstance though as the discrimination was so bloody blatant. The reply came from a Mathew Lombard:
We recently posted five 3" stickers on the front entrance to our shop. Two of these stickers are negative and prohibitive in their message. After some public confusion as to the meaning of one which depicted a rainbow flag, we've replaced them with a clarification. 

"While we will serve all customers who treat our place of business with respect, we reserve the right to refuse to produce promotional products that promote ideas that are not in keeping with our consciences. This includes, but is not limited to content promoting homosexuality, freemasonry, the use of foul language, and imagery which promotes immodesty." 

Thank you, 

Matthew Lombard - Owner
Make of it what you will. Personally, I dunno how a rainbow with a crossed circle on it could be interpreted in any other way than discriminatory. I also say that the term "promoting homosexuality" sounds like the gay propaganda law in Russia.

I dunno, are they allowed to discriminate like that? Wasn't there some big case over there recently about a wedding cake that the cake shop refused to make as the couple were gay? I think the cake shop got into quite a bit of strife over that one.

What then would be the case if the shop refused to serve people who "promoted" being black?

OMG I'm 52

Not that I'm into birthdays at this stage of life. But yes, despite much adversity and life dramas, I have made it through another year.

I don't worry about getting old. Never have. Once around in this life is enough for me. So birthdays have never been a worry about increasing age. More like an accomplishment to actually get that far :) 

Life hasn't exactly been easy so far, but I guess it's about keeping going isn't it..... 
 photo girrafefallingova.gif

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

What "budget emergency"?

There's a lot on the net about the budget emergency lie. This link and picture below are just a sample of how there is no budget emergency at all, and that the Lieberals are lying through their bloody teeth:

Embroidery company bans gays - US

I don't usually get involved at all in what shops do in other countries, but this one has incensed me. Probably because it's from a country that has s history of segregation and people living there should know better. This is the story of Herald Embroidery in Kentucky, USA. This is the outside of their shop; it seems guns and beards are fine, but gays and bad language are banned:

Here is a review posted online of the place:  
My wife and I went into this shop to get shirts for my parent's anniversary. We went in holding hands and the clerks gave us dirty looks the entire time. We didn't understand why; maybe they thought we were suspicious? I confronted one of the employees and they directed me to a sticker in the window. It had a pride flag on it and it basically meant gays weren't welcome. My wife and I were heartbroken; we just wanted shirts made! But...we wasted a trip for nothing. Guess we'll get our shirts online next time. So sad about this treatment. ): link
As we live in a very connected internet world now, I have decided to make my displeasure known to them, from all the way down under in Sydney, Australia. I will do this via their feedback area at the bottom of their home page.

Feel free to join me in said task if you so desire :) 


Here is my email just sent. (It was a bit less than that as it's a 1,000 character limit, but they can follow the link to here if they want).
Hello from Sydney, Australia. 

Although I would generally be happy to send greetings from Sydney to KY, on this occasion I cannot. After reading about the appalling discrimination you show to gay people online, I felt I should point out that online means world wide. In short, you are sending your message of hate across the globe. 

Is this how you want to represent yourself not only to KY, but to Sydney as well? That you're happy for someone to walk in your shop with a gun, but two people who love each other are banned? Are you happy that this warped perversion of Christianity, that says love is not OK but violence is, is how you want to conduct business? 

I take it by the sign in the front of your shop that you are. I trust that this message then will be sent far and wide, and customers can chose to enter your business accordingly. 

Thank you for you attention, 

PS. You can read more about my disgust on my blog here:  

Award winning gay marriage add

This is from nearly a year ago, when crazy French people were going bananas about evil poofs wanting to get married. It has recently won a Webby award.


Abbott to increase income tax?

This is from News Corp so probably needs to be taken with a few grains of salt, but it is interesting. Perhaps News Corp is trying some Abbott damage control in the face of howling protests about his attack on the poor?

Anyway News Corp is suggesting that workers earning $80,000 a year and more "could" be "slugged" with a 1% increase  in their income tax:
News Corp Australia reports workers earning between 80-thousand and 180-thousand dollars a year could be slugged an extra one per cent tax on their incomes for four years, while those earning more than 180-thousand will pay an extra two per cent. 

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO John Osborn opposes the idea, telling ABC radio a levy to help pay down government debt would be an unwelcome surprise. 

But Australian Council of Social Service boss Cassandra Goldie says Australia is one of the lowest taxing countries in the OECD and needs to strengthen its tax base. 

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne doesn't support a debt or deficit levy. "I'm not prepared to support a levy," she told ABC radio. 

The government had itself increased the deficit by abandoning the carbon tax, and depriving the budget of billions in revenue, Senator Milne added. 

"And suddenly Tony Abbott says to the community, 'sorry you all have to pay'," she said. more
Whether this comes about or not is another thing. It appears to me to be a bit of Murdoch media management, but I may be wrong. In any case, my position is the same as my opposition to any cuts to pensions and the poor. Namely, that it's unnecessary and shouldn't be implemented as the "budget crisis" is an Abbott gov creation. Our economy is in good shape.

Alternatively, even if there was a budget crisis, there are many other areas (gov subsidies for example) that are well worth the chop, without having to lay into taxpayers and the poor.

Perhaps though the most absurd thing about it is the Orwellian aspect to what this income tax increase would be called; a "debt levy". Well, if someone is earning $80,000 a year I'd imagine they'd be well educated intelligent people, who know an income tax rise when they see it. 

And don't for a minute believe Abbott when he says it'll end after 4 years *cough* 

Monday, 28 April 2014

US congressman defends Ugandan anti-gayness

This is a US congressman. Someone in a position of power that can use that power in whichever way he wants. This guy laments Obama sending Kerry to Uganda to try and do something about their "jail the gays" law, asking "What must god think of America?" and that the US is sending scientists instead of Christians (who presumably would be encouraging the "jail the gays" law).

Seriously, after Fraser blasted the ANZUS alliance a couple of days ago, I've really been looking at WTF do we Australians have in common with these Washington fuckwits? Other than our present wingnut PM? Or perhaps his mate Bernadi? Is the US descending into religious fuckwitism? Leaders who actually think that it's OK to legislate according to the bloody bible. Leaders who are quite happy to condemn those outside of that sphere. Bring back someone like JFK.....


"Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists" - Palin

I don't know WTF is worse. Sarah fuckin Palin christianising waterboarding (although Christianity has been responsible for much worse than that in the last 2,000 years) or the audience cheering about it. What a grotesque scene. Perhaps this is the perfect storm of religion and politics. So who's the terrorists then?

No wonder Australian ex PM Malcolm Fraser is calling for us to end the US alliance. Nobody here, not even far right wing nut Abbott, would find her words agreeable. They are revolting, and an indication of a state out of control. Seriously, WTF are we doing in an alliance with these fuckin nutters?


Latest cartoons and memes

Whoa, my desktop had a lot of stuff. This collection features quite a lot about planes.....

Manus Island gulag; pics of injured

These pictures were taken soon after the night that the asylum seekers were attacked and the murder of Reza Barati. More pics and accompanying story here


New coal mining policy - "fuck you"

I've only just discovered this. It's really funny. Coal mining has, according to this, developed a new policy in the face of climate change.......


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Ways America is criminalising poverty

Who will pay & who should pay in the budget

ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Services) has reacted to sloppy Joe's speech this week and put together a detailed list of policies that will impact the poor most, whilst also detailing policies that could be done away with as they go to people who are able to cop it, so to speak. Remember, the DSP is less than $20,000 a year. There is not the slightest room for cuts, and anyone who doesn't think so should try and fuckin live on the thing. We shall see how accurate this list is I guess post budget: 
Who will pay? 
• The introduction of a $6 GP co-payment will impact on low income people most and those with chronic illness and is likely to lead to reduced visits to doctors and greater pressure on hospital system; 
• Proposed changes to eligibility for the Disability Support Pension will require more frequent medical assessments and shift many people onto Newstart Allowance which is $166 a week lower, without addressing barriers to work;
• Increasing the Age Pension eligibility age will force many older people to struggle on the $36 a day Newstart payment for longer; 
• Proposed changes to indexation of pensions to prices instead of wages will cause payments to fall behind community living standards and lead to an increase in poverty amongst older people, people with disability and others relying on pensions; 
• Abolishing Medicare Locals will reduce the access to primary health care services for those on low incomes; 
• Abolishing the low income superannuation contribution will effectively penalise people on low incomes for saving for their retirement; 
• Abolishing the Income Support Bonus Payment would reduce assistance to people on the below poverty line Newstart payment by $4 week; 
• Cuts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, including legal services and peak representative bodies and community legal services will all reduce access to essential services to some of the most disadvantaged members of our community. 

Who should pay?  
While the Government has signalled a reduction in ‘corporate welfare', the Government has been reported as refusing to touch expensive tax expenditures or poorly targeted payments, which benefit those who are wealthier, driving greater inequality in Australian society, including: 
• Superannuation tax concession, of which one third go the top 10% of wage earners, now cost the same as the age pension, around $40 billion per year; 
• Housing tax concessions, which also largely benefit those on high incomes and contribute to house price and rent inflation which is locking many low and middle income households out of the market, at a cost of more than $8.3 billion a year; 
• The assets test for eligibility for the part pension, by which people with investment assets of more than $1 million, in addition to the family home, are eligible to receive a part pension - causing rapid growth in uptake of the pension; 
• The Seniors Supplement, which extends to those who are too wealthy to receive a pension; 
• The Private Health Insurance Rebate for ancillary cover; and 
• The tax treatment of private trusts which largely benefit those on high incomes. more

Pensioner's plea



Our F-35 jibes make international news

The Abbott gov's buying of $12billion worth of F-35 fighters, and the accompanying criticisms of it, is starting to make news overseas. Perhaps it's our very direct way of putting things (like "it's a fuckin lemon") is a better description than some people are a bit timid to say? Of course we deserve to feel ripped off, if only because our gov is buying these sparkly new things whilst claiming a "budget crisis" and ripping into everything else in the community to save money. But it's more than that. These planes seriously are fuckin lemons, and even despite local Australian politics we should never have bought them.

So here's from an article yesterday about the F-35's supposed stealth ability being not so stealthy (yes this is only from bloody yesterday FFS). RT has chosen to quote an Australian opinion piece at the very end of the article, from the Brisbane Times:
Others, however, have suggested that the number of future buyers may soon shrink as well: on Thursday this week, the Australian military was blasted in a harshly worded op-ed published in the Brisbane Times who condemned efforts to acquire F-35 for down under.

“Twelve billion dollars is a big wad of the folding stuff to drop on whizz bangs,” John Birmingham wrote for the paper, “And $12 billion probably won’t come close to the final cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters both mainstream political parties are committed to buying.”

“I got ten bucks says it’ll be more like twice that amount, but you’ll have wait 30 or 40 years to collect. That’s how long these things will be in the air. Assuming they shed their habit of shedding bits and pieces of equipment and airframe at inconvenient moments,” Birmingham added. “Like when they’re in the air.” more
Not to be outdone, here's a report from US Sixty Minutes on CBS over there, in which things like lights and tires were fucked, and at one point a plane was delivered with gaps in it's stealthy covering. 

Spain Judge investigates charging Bush over Gitmo

This was unexpected. A judge in Spain is investigating charges over Gitmo and torture, including charging Bush over it:
The Spanish courts agreed in 2009 to probe charges brought by four ex-Guantanamo detainees who say they were tortured during their detention in the camp between 2002 and 2005. 

Among those cited in the charges are Bush, US former vice president Dick Cheney and ex-defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld. 

The new law says courts in Spain can only probe atrocities committed abroad if the suspects are Spanish. 

But Ruz said in Tuesday’s judgement that Spain had an “obligation” under international treaties to investigate alleged atrocities even if the suspects were not Spanish. more
Does this really have a chance of getting up? Would Howard and Blair be connected to investigations? - probably not as the case only considers Guantanamo Bay and not what happened in Iraq.

Keep on painting George..... 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

F-35 fighters are lemons

There's so much on the net about these brand spanking new $12billion all guns firing F-35 fighters that Abbott is buying. Their purchase by Australia is being ripped to shreds online. Here's the latest offering by comedians A Rational Fear:


End US alliance - Ex PM Fraser

If nothing else this illustrates just how far the US (and Australia) have gone from the values they held in the past. Malcolm Fraser is a prime minister from the early 80's, just when Reaganomics was starting to take off and at the height of the cold war with Russia. Those times required cool heads, something that is evidently lacking in the leadership today of both the US and Australia. Every time there's some conflict somewhere in the world, you get the drums of war coming out of Washington with Canberra nodding sheepishly in agreement (pun intended). We never used to be like this, virtually a satellite of the US. Fraser obviously remembers when we weren't.

Since Fraser's prime ministership he appears to have kept the values that he held back then, so much so that in recent years he's resigned from the Lieberal party in disgust. Particularly over the treatment of asylum seekers I think. Today's Lieberals don't represent the same party that he lead way back 30 years ago. 

Make no mistake, this will be bloody big news in Washington. No PM, or Ex PM, in recent decades, has dared to question our US alliance. Fraser has come out and seriously questioned the ANZUS alliance (Australia, New Zealand, US) going so far as saying the US troops in Darwin should be sent home. But even more disturbing for Washington will be his assertion that Pine Gap should be closed down. 

For those overseas who don't know, Pine Gap is described as Australia's most secret place. It's a joint US/Australian satellite facility, instrumental in any war the US takes part in now. Indeed, the current US drone strikes in various parts of the world would be heavily reliant on Pine Gap. Something about tracking things and targeting and all; I'm no rocket scientist :s
His answer is to pull back by closing down the US training bases in the Northern Territory and advising Washington that Pine Gap will also be shut down.

Hugh White, a strategic policy expert at the Australian National University, described Mr Fraser's position, which is set out extensively in a new book by the former Liberal called Dangerous Allies, as "the most radical position argued by a former Australian prime minister on a strategic question since Billy Hughes in the 1930s". Read more
What's more, he's highly critical of the current alliance generally, saying that over time Australia has given up it's defence autonomy to the US. And why now is he so worried? Because he doesn't want Australia being automatically dragged in to some stupid war with China, which it could be argued is quite possible given the US's new power projection efforts in the Pacific. Or to put it more plainly, the US's stance on China's dispute with Japan, where it's backed Japan.
The comments represent the most serious questioning by a current or past government leader of the dominant assumption in Australia's foreign policy since World War II – namely, that an ever closer US alliance is inherently in Australia's security interests. 

With US President Barack Obama visiting north Asia (although not China) and confirming the US would back Japan in any conflict over disputed islands in the East China Sea, Mr Fraser has called for a more basic interpretation of the ANZUS treaty, restricting its scope to consultation initially – rather than the assumption of automatic military involvement. 

He has also called for a new debate about Australian-American military-to-military ties, warning that the secretive Pine Gap facility would become a military target as it would likely be pivotal to the US capability to identify and neutralise Chinese nuclear weapons sites. Read more
Personally I think the alliance should have been chucked out over the Iraq war fiasco. If the alliance means that we have to follow a dieing superpower into a war based on lies, without the support of the UN, then surely it's time to start questioning just how "secure" the alliance is making us. As with the drums of war now banging in Washington over some latest conflict, is going into a dumb war with China actually in the interests of our national security? 

What beef have we got with China anyway? We get on OK with them, trade like mad with them. And Japan, why would we want to go to war to defend them? They didn't seem to give a fuck about us down here when they were coming and killing endangered whales in our southern oceans for decades. Let alone what they did to us in WW2. Now we're supposed to defend these people?

I feel a bit bad about mentioning-the-war so to speak, but you know sometimes memories take a long time to die. My father told me some of the things they used to do to prisoners, and I wonder how some of the WW2 diggers and their relo's would think now about defending Japan today after all we went through defending ourselves against them only decades ago. Kokoda trail anyone? What sort of an alliance would force us into something so perverse.

The ANZUS alliance isn't worth the paper it's written on anyway. The US says jump with it and we ask how high, yet if we needed help it's all up to what the US decides. There's no automatic US defence. New Zealand's experience of the ANZUS alliance has been a rocky one too, as evidenced when the US chucked NZ out of it for having a ban on nuclear warships docking in NZ harbours. Um, NZ did get the last laugh though as they didn't follow the US into Iraq. Hah!

Heater cat :)

With Autumn's arrival and the end of daylight saving, the weather has been getting cooler and we've had to resurrect the winter heater for the lounge room again. Last winter it was the Natasha and Felix show in front of the heater, but Felix is gone now. Not that Natasha seems to notice. She's jumped right in and claimed the spot for herself now. Kiera the other cat is a bit wary as Natasha can be rather possessive.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Hockey grilled about "budget crisis" - video

This is a fine piece of journalism. The interviewer isn't scared to put Hockey on the spot and he does fair and square. I mean seriously, blind Freddy could see that Australia's economy is in good shape, and has been for at least the last 22 years of uninterrupted growth. It is good to see someone make sloppy Joe squirm.


What one F-35 could buy

I'm sure there's a myriad of other more deserving recipients as well that $210million could be spent on, not to mention the $12billion in total for 58 F-35's, but this is a good example. With not buying just one plane, this is what the money could be spent on.
Why isn't it? Simple ideology. 

Don't bully, they may be your boss later :)

Safe and sound

Woke up this morning and felt terrible, well in the head at least. I'd been feeling a bit down last evening and had had some rather bad nightmares over night. The kind that leave me feeling worried about something, not anything in particular, just generally worried about things. I'd had a bad night even apart from that as I had the runs again and was up 4 times in an hour to the throne.

One of the things bothering me last night and bringing on depression, was thoughts about my daughter. I know yes, my head isn't a predictor of the future. It is however the result of evolution, one of the survival mechanisms being that those who prepared for the worst survived better than those who didn't. Hence my head is imagining the worst in preparation for the worst. That doesn't mean that the worst will happen though.

That worst case scenario being that my daughter will have nothing more to do with me for the rest of my life. A thought that baffles me at her stupidity if that is the case, but one that doesn't engender anger. I feel depressed about it yes, a bit anxious yes, but not angry. So that may well be playing a big part in this morning's feelings.

One of the dreams overnight was very vivid too. I'm not taking any HIV pills that make you have nightmares so it's not that, but the last few months these bad dreams have been getting more frequent. This one I've had before. It's usually something about my old work, and trying to do an impossible job that's been promised to the client in an impossible time and getting hardly anywhere with it. Real nightmare kind of stuff. Like running and getting nowhere. This one had a particular little twist though that's very relevant; included in this dream's plot was that I was only there for about a week to help out with this impossible job, and then I realised that maybe I shouldn't have as Centrelink might be overpaying me if I was working for that week and I may end up with Centrelink debt. Lovely. Thank you Abbott for that one....  

So I wake up this morning feeling pretty bad. The world outside the bedroom seems foreboding and scary. I go to get up as it's already 8am but I feel exhausted. I decide to stay where I am for now.

I consider how I'm feeling as I lie there. How I should deal with these horrible feelings. To add to the picture, it's a dark raining day here in Sydney now making the thought of outside the house particularly foreboding. As I felt warm and safe in bed, and still feeling tired, I went back to sleep for a bit. And had another nightmare.....

Then I remembered what the psychologist said recently, that there's nothing I could have done or could do to change the situation. It's therefore best to concentrate on my relationship with David as that's what's most important to me. After all, if my daughter actually does go through with the life long excommunication of me then the only immediate family I'd have left would be David. 

He was asleep still, had had a bad night as well up coughing on and off. Now however was sleeping soundly. Moved over next to him and put my arm around him, gave him a little kiss on the neck and drifted back off to sleep with him. I felt safe, secure, home. The fear drifted away. The two cats were asleep in their latest preferred spots in the room. We were all together, safe and sound. Nothing could hurt us together like this.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Gov Medicare clampdown fails, costs gov money

Following the UK's example of a gov bureaucracy totally fucking up investigating how eligible people were for welfare, we have another brilliant example of another gov bureaucracy totally fucking up investigating how eligible people are for welfare. In this case it was the Australian Medicare system where there was a big clampdown on doctors who it had been alleged some of them were ripping off the system. Or dreaming up consultations to get the Medicare $35 or so payment to doctors for seeing patients. You know, those doctors that had spent years in uni to get to where they are now, who apparently dreamed up some new way to rip off taxpayers for $35. Obviously this must have been the pinnacle aim of their doctor career?

OK so it was another stupid failure. This was the Rudd Labor gov that started this particular investigation. It turned up fuck all. The gov outlay was way more than any money gained. Either the gov bureaucracy was incapable of doing such an investigation (likely as they're stepping into a situation from outside of it) or there weren't anywhere near the amount of doctors doing the wrong thing by the taxpayer as was imagined. I reckon a bit of both of the above.

Whatever the case, going after money that is so called ripped off, isn't going to bring any expected savings some gov may imagine. In the above case the Rudd gov, which whatever you say about it you'd have to say was very thorough. 

So what expected savings does the gov expect to get by some big clampdown on pensioners? I'd bet my bottom dollar that it won't be anywhere near what they think. In the end, the clampdown itself will cost more than any random savings. Yes that's right people, we on the DSP are genuine. People who aren't either don't get on it or are generally caught out. There is no crisis of rip off pensioners.
In 2008, the Rudd government allocated $77 million over four years to the Department of Human Services to increase the number of audits it completed on doctors' Medicare claiming each year from 500 to 2500. The audits, which examine whether doctors are actually delivering the services they are billing Medicare for, was supposed to recover $147 million to deliver a net saving of $70 million. 

But a report on the program by the Australian National Audit Office, tabled in Federal Parliament on Wednesday, showed the department identified incorrect claims of $49 million while actually recovering less than $19 million over this period, leaving a shortfall of more than $128 million. 

"The available Human Services data shows that overall there was a shortfall of $128.3 million in savings [monies recovered] against the budget initiative's savings target - some 87 per cent less than the $147.2 million in expected savings," the Auditor-General, Ian McPhee wrote. 

"Even if all debts raised were recovered, there would remain a shortfall of $98 million or 66 per cent less than the expected savings." 

"The ANAO’s analysis indicates the program of additional compliance audits funded under the budget measure was delivered at a net cost to the Australian government and did not represent a positive financial return on its investment." Read more  

Independent medical assessments didn't work in UK

Is the Abbott gov looking to the UK for examples of cutting welfare? It would seem so, with all this talk of "toughening up" on the DSP. Or to put that in minion terms, getting us DSP recipients to go and see an independent doctor to assess our disability. This doctor would know nothing about your circumstances, your medical history, but be expected to make a decision about your physical and mental health in regards to the receipt of the DSP. Or to put it even more colloquially, make us jump through more hoops.

Well they've tried this in England and it was a financial disaster for the UK gov, a huge waste of time, and in many cases the Independent assessors got things completely wrong. Is this the sort of bullshit system Abbott wants to bring in here?

Again, another article from the coal face, in opposition to the gov's attack on pensioners. Indeed it's their whole approach that's wrong, even if there was a budget crisis. I'm starting to see a pattern here.....
Atos was sacked after audits found that the medical assessments were ‘flawed and unacceptable’ in 40% of the cases audited. Instances of repugnant injustice have surfaced. Of the 1.8 million assessments conducted since 2009, one third have been the subject of appeals, of which one in three was upheld. The cost of the appeals process alone has been estimated at £60 million. As well as the poor quality of the medical reports, disability groups have been scathing in their feedback regarding the accessibility and sensitivity of the entire process. It should be pointed out that Atos was selected as the sole contractor for these reports in a competitive tender process which supposedly guaranteed the best available service. One wonders why our government thinks we can do it any better. 

Currently, obtaining a DSP is not a straightforward process. Applicants are required to obtain reports at their own expense from the GP plus any treating specialist. I do a couple of these most weeks. The reports are assessed by Centrelink and a decision is made. Contrary to what appears a widespread belief among politicians and talkback radio callers, these people are financially and socially desperate. They will have exhausted any available resources including superannuation, friends, family and insurance before applying. If they have been working steadily before they became injured or sick, they are usually in the process of losing their house or flat. Their world is contracting to be able to manage with capabilities that are a fraction of what they previously were. It is not an easy time for anyone. Do we really want to add insult to disadvantage by demanding that they undergo a demeaning kangaroo court to parade their disability on demand in order to keep the meagre resources they have left? more 

Greens cry foul re Abbott's budget

Well the budget propaganda machine is in full swing now, softening us all up for the budget announcement early next month so we'll be all ready for bad news. Sloppy Joe Hockey's rhetoric is all very predictable, like we're a bunch of schoolies getting lectured about how bad we've been and we must have some "tough love". 


I'm not sure Australians are so stupid as to accept this bullshit line from Hockey, that we must cut and cut as we're on the verge of some catastrophic economic bla. What a load of shit. We've had excellent economic performance in Australia for years and years, even during the height of the GFC we kept our head above water. Now we're supposed to believe that simply by the advent of a new gov Australia's economy has gone right down shit creek with no paddle.

We're being told of a budget emergency, whilst the gov buys $12billion worth of US war planes. Whilst a well off person on $150,000 a year will get given $75,000 from the gov to have a baby. The "budget emergency" rhetoric doesn't match the basic facts being presented to us.

So who in Canberra is crying foul? Labor is making noises, but as far as hard hitting criticism they don't appear to be doing a hell of a lot of that. So it's (again) been left up to the Greens to really tell it like it is. The Greens are IMO the only party left with decent social policies. Apart from being opposed to what both Labor and Lieberals have been doing to vulnerable refugees for political advantage, they make clear what they think of Sloppy Joe's budget: 
Acting Greens leader Adam Bandt said it was unacceptable for the government to be shaping up for a major hit on the vulnerable, while the well-off were allowed to structure their affairs to minimise tax, depriving the budget of much needed revenue. 

“The wealthy elite should take a haircut, not those who rely on bulk-billing to see a doctor,” Mr Bandt said, declaring that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was "backed by society’s ‘1%’". 

“If Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott let their millionaire friends off scot-free while attacking pensions and essential services, they will have declared ‘class war’ on the country and divided Australia," he said. 

“If the ‘age of entitlement’ is over, as Joe Hockey says, he should start at the top. Joe Hockey should balance the budget fairly by implementing these independent costings provided by the Greens," Mr Bandt said. Read more
I think the gov is getting it really wrong here (have they got anything even remotely right yet?). Not much of a brain is needed to figure out this gov's full of bullshit. Are the poor (there's a lot of us BTW and growing) just going to accept the gov gouging $5 out of them to see a doctor? Are workers simply going to accept an increase in the Aged pension retirement age to 70?

Hey you who voted for Abbott. Next time you go into a polling both how about giving some thought to your vote, instead of rolling over like a dumb lemming believing some shit about asylum seekers. This gov is attacking everything. I'd like to be there in the doctor's waiting room when you and your family all turn up to see a doctor and you have to pay $20 on your credit card because you have no money for it. How's that being shit scared of a few asylum seekers working out for you now? You were conned.