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Labor's pledge to restore honest politics: a good start

Hello. Labor has released its policy to help restore honest government in Australia. I wrote a new chapter for my book, The skull beneath the skin, to help expose the non-event FOI laws and public service whistle blower protections have become under John Howard, as he transformed the public service into a political service. For more, see former AUSAID official Peter Ellis's piece here. Here is the media statement. For the detailed policy document,  Government information: restoring trust and integrity, see here. For the executive summary, see here.

It's not what I want - an 'Australian Honest Politics Commission' along the lines of ICAC in NSW and the CMC in Queensland to properly police donor disclosure  and politician's compliance with the law, and to investigate whistle blower and other complaints of corruption by government. but at least it's a start. This is policy that the minor parties in the Senate, if they hold the balance of power, should insist be passed as a condition for backing the Government's budget. In my opinion, it's that crucial to rescuing our democracy, for all of us.

Media Statement - 26th October 2007

Kevin Rudd - Federal Labor Leader, Joe Ludwig - Shadow Attorney-General , Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

Federal Labor today released its plan to reform freedom of information (FOI), journalist privilege, whistle blower protection and privacy laws – under a major plan to foster “open government”.

A Freedom of Information Commissioner will replace the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the FOI review process.

Federal Labor will preserve the role of Privacy Commissioner and also complete the existing review of the operation of the Privacy Act so that protection and access to personal information across both the Privacy Act and FOI Act regimes are consistent.

Federal Labor is proposing a significant restructure of information laws. A Rudd Labor Government will:

    * Bring together the functions of privacy protection and freedom of information in an Office of the Information Commissioner – to streamline and fast-track information policy across government;

    * Preserve the existing role of the Privacy Commissioner – to protect individual privacy;

    * Abolish conclusive (non-reviewable) certificates from the FOI process – which stymie genuine requests by allowing Ministers to arbitrarily deny the release of information – For example, Treasurer Peter Costello refused to release information on income tax bracket creep and data on the First Time Home Owners scheme;

    * Support reasonable changes to current journalist shield laws to protect their sources and ensure that a responsible journalist is never again prosecuted for a story that is “merely embarrassing” to a government;

    * Pursue national reform of suppression orders in court proceedings through the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General; and

   * Provide best-practice legislation and expansion of protection for public interest disclosure whistleblowers protecting them from retribution – such as the customs officer, Mr Alan Kessing, who blew the whistle on organised crime, lax airport security and inadequate policing.

This is about breaking the code of silence that has developed after 11 years of the Howard Government.

Access to government information and decision-making are keys to a healthy and vibrant democracy. It also means that members of the community can obtain reasonable access to government records and documents that affect their lives.

Indirectly, strong FOI laws mean bureaucrats will provide advice to their ministers without fear or favour – knowing that they may be held to account and their decisions could made public.

The current FOI regime allows the Howard Government to escape real transparency and genuine accountability. For 11 years, the Howard Government has shrunk away from the light of public scrutiny and transparency – by abusing the current FOI laws.

A more open system for obtaining reasonable access to government records is the mark of a strong democracy. In addition, it is essential that we keep a strong system in place to protect the privacy of individuals.

Background – FOI refusals – full or in part

In the period 1997-98 to 2005-06, the Howard Government refused full access to 75, 064 information requests; of those 57,975 were refused in part and 17,089 refused completely.

In the period 2005-06, the Howard Government refused full access to 8,655 information requests; of those 6,298 refused in part and 2,357 were refused completely.For the full text of Labor policy, see

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A Modest Constitutional Amendment

Malcolm, A propos of your observations on the Speaker('s lurk).

I would like to propose a modest amendment to the Constitution, comprising:

1. Parliamentary candidates to be nominated by random selection on a similar basis to jurors (no self-nomination allowed), and elected for a maximum of 2 terms;

2. No people with criminal records, union officials, lawyers, undischarged bankrupts, used car salesmen, former Premiers of Western Australia (or their acolytes) may become MPs, and a certain minimum educational standard required; 

3. Private lobbying of a parliamentarian to be equal at law to trying to nobble a jury or bribe a judge;

4. Members of the public or their counsel (paid or unpaid) may apply to the Speaker to address Parliament, and the Speaker must supply a reason for refusal (that's where lawyers and union officials can get back into it);

5. Members of the public may put draft legislation to the Parliament;

6. The Governor-General may dismiss any Parliamentarian at his/her discretion;

7. A majority of Parliament may vote to dismiss the Governor-General and appoint a new one.

8. The full Cabinet to be appointed by a vote of Parliament.

This would have to be a massive improvement over what we have had on most sitting days, and a hell of a lot better than any future Parliament with a Howard-led majority.

The one about the dog

This one's pretty funny Ian MacDougall, but I liked the one about the dog better.

Rudd's gunna promise honest politics - oh yeah!

See Rudd rules out IR compromise

...Mr Rudd said he will release his own ministerial code of conduct before the election on Saturday and will require ministerial staffers to front Senate committees. (Margo: ie no more children overboard cover-ups)

He has also flagged changes to the operation of the Speaker – which could suggest a move to a British-style independent speaker. He has re-affirmed his desire for fixed four year terms.

Mr Rudd said that any advisors who are involved in decisions by the executive should appear before Senate inquiries, having complained that the Coalition kept advisors shielded from scrutiny.

An independent Speaker?

The nation sadly lost its very best Independent MP recently.

Who then is the better to be an Independent Speaker: Katter or Windsor?

An independent Speaker?

The answer, Craig Rowley, is that they are both pork-barrelling dimwits with no idea of how to govern a nation.    What we need is a strong Speaker who will stand up to everyone - heaven knows the bastard gets paid enough. I doubt you'll find one though.

Clever politics though it was, the appointment of Torbay in NSW has, as far as I can see, been a thorough disappointment. Chap is barely articulate and wouldn't know parliamentary government from his left foot. That's what you get when you drag these nonentities out of local government and actually give them a role in legislating (Clover is another good example).

One of the problems with people like Windsor is that they spend so much time trolling in the gutter they never get to look up at the stars.

Honest Politics? Oxymoronic surely!

An independent Speaker is essential for the proper working of a Federal Parliament otherwise a fiasco ensues in Question Time as has been the case for the last eleven years.

Why not appoint a judge, one who is impartial, even-handed, apolitical, secular, modest, quick-witted, stern, intelligent...

Why are you all laughing? Did I say something wrong?

Yes, Freedom is one hell of an issue.

We are starting to see some pleasing articles in the media regarding freedom of speech and, may I add, freedom in everything dear to the hearts of Australian people.

Such transparency would put the Howard government in a dangerous legal bind, as perhaps Jeff Kennett would have been, had he not shredded his files when he lost power.

In  A freedom we cannot lose  we find the media funded report which clearly demonstrates the issue I have been concerned with for a long time.

Does anyone doubt these items from A Fascist Australia:

  • Power elites: politicians owe their tenure to corporate supporters, and return favours to business.

9.  Corporate Power is Protected.

The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed.

Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

IMHO after his almost failed election in 1998, Howard (I claimed) made a deal with the devil and now we are all seeing the results of the sneaky, hidden agenda that Howard calls aspirational nationalism.

For almost a decade, the Howard "New Order" has opportunistically used diversions and forests of misdemeanours to slide us towards total fascism - and I kid you not.

The most terrible thing the German people did with their dictator was to apathetically take what he said as gospel.

The most terrible thing we are now doing is letting Howard and his robots get away with "I wasn't informed" and "I will consider that". Indeed - "How does Howard get away with it".

This free forum we all currently enjoy would certainly not exist with a re-elected Howard government.  Surely all signs and speeches from the "New Order" are trying to hide that fact with every possible diversion?

Does anyone remember the Howard A-G Ruddock recently saying that he will have to widen the censorship laws?

If we re-elect the Howard "New Order" we will lose the freedom we have been given by the courage and conviction of Margo and her volunteer Management team.

So if we agree that Climate Change is more important since losing the planet is more critical than losing a job - then let's remember that  freedom is more important than a debt-laden false economy.

Keep our eyes of the ball.  WorkChoices and secrecy have to go.


Hell of an issue

Ern, you are beginning to lose the plot with these sort of remarks, "This free forum we all currently enjoy would certainly not exist with a re-elected Howard government".

"If we re-elect the Howard "New Order" we will lose the freedom we have been given by the courage and conviction of Margo and her volunteer Management team".

 You are saying that Howard would close down WD, that really is scraping the bottom. However it is good to see you are reading the venal media again.

Good to hear from you Alan.

G'day Alan,

Yes mate, I am as sure as I can be that Howard would shut down Webdiary and any other form of opposition.

Among the many unbelievable acts of this government was the fact that they allowed their spokesperson Andrew Bolt to print a leaked document of theirs in the Herald Sun without a murmur.

Subsequently, two journalists from the same newspaper quoted a leaked document which laid out the Howard government's plans to significantly reduce the already weakened veterans' entitlements.

They were prosecuted and threatened with gaol unless they divulged their informant.  A decent judge fined them under the Howard crap of "National Security". Not so for Bolt though.

So the reasons I believe my fears are justified is also because, when Howard first brought in his notorious sedition laws (see Anti -Terrorism Act (No 2) 2005)  along with many others, I was writing in to Have Your Say in the Canberra Times.

These laws caused a lot of concern with the media and then, as I predicted, HYS was shut down.  No warning and, as far as I am aware, no explanation. 

Now, we have the A-G Ruddock warning that he will widen the censorship laws.  I take that as a promise from him if re-elected.

IMHO Alan, the similarities between the Howard "New Order" and the principles of fascism are far too many to be ignored.

P.S. I still don't read the newspapers except on the net (which Howard is trying to take over with "free spam" removal by ASIO and the AFP. Struth)

Cheers mate,

Ern G.

See Free speech report

See Free speech report shock.

But let's not let the media get away with complete self righteousness. If they want free info, And they, too, must be more open. People don't trust governments, but they don't trust the media either.

More than 500 separate legal provisions in 335 different state and federal acts of Parliament are denying Australians access to a vast amount of information they should be able to see, a major new report says.

The Right to Know Coalition today released an audit on the state of free speech, which its authors say provides a damning picture of "how free speech and media freedom are being whittled away".

The report says acts of Parliament - including the NSW Gaming Machines Act, the Port Statistics Act, the Grain Marketing Act and the Food Act - all contained secrecy provisions preventing the release of information that should be in the public domain.

The coalition, made up of all the major media groups including Fairfax Media, publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald, produced the report as a first step in lobbying government to change laws that deny the media and the public access to information often available overseas.

It's Time for Appreciation.

I have a feeling that the freedom of speech that Margo's Webdiary has afforded us in these trying times is well worth our respect.

As a person who likes to have my say, I have been privileged to receive the patience of the volunteers in this forum to print my opinions.

I cannot imagine any like situation, certainly not in Howard's Australia, where people as dedicated to freedom as Margo and her Management volunteers, would provide such a service.

This forum provides the opportunity to people from all walks of life, to express their views on a variety of subjects that, in some way or form, effects all of our lives.

I am sure that these valued Australian citizens have a life of their own, and I deeply appreciate their couragous efforts to avoid the selective media blogs about which we are supposed to be grateful.

On a more personal point, what has happened to my jousting friend Alan Curran?

I hope he is well and will contribute to the views of this forum again.

At least he was fair dinkum.

Cheers Ern G.

When it comes to ear wax...

Paul Morrella says:

 A vote could then be cast for Mr Howard one the nose picker or Mr Howard two (Rudd) the ear wax eater.

Oh, no question. Australia's ready for a head of government that eats his own ear wax.

Every time Rudd touches down in Washington or at the UN, Jay Leno is going to get out that video clip.

I thought Latham was going to be funny, and was really disappointed when he got clobbered.

For a while, I thought only Garret would be good for a laugh.

But then the ear wax thing.

Perfect start, really.

Now wait till they start all bitch slapping ecah other in public.

bloody hell!

I've just caught up with this admission of culpabuility, and absolute proof that the public service has been replaced with a political service: FOI laws: Garrett's $12 K FOI bid blocked:

FEDERAL Opposition environment spokesman Peter Garrett has failed with an FOI application after being told the information would assist his election campaign.

On October 18, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) knocked back Mr Garrett's freedom of information (FOI) requests for documents on the effect of global warming on the reef and refused to waive an administration charge of more than $12,000.

Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday said decisions on FOI applications to his department were made by officials and not by him.

But in its judgment, GBRMPA said if the matters were of public concern, given the political climate, the information would assist the Labor Party.

“In my view, given the current political context in which this request was made, it appears likely the documents have been sought by the applicant to assist with his political campaign in the lead-up to the impending federal election,” Fiona Macdonald, executive director of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said.


Bloody Hell you bet!

Just a thought.

The FOI has politically denied a perfectly lawful request from Peter Garrett, Australian citizen, on the basis that it may help his political party of choice!!!  Fair dinkum.  Margo - bloody hell is right.

At the moment, Howard is only a caretaker.

Quite clearly the absence of transparency has been set in concrete even though Howard has, technically no power. Not likely.

Where can we hope that this fascism will stop?

What a wonderful Christmas it would be if we have the removal of the Howard regime to celebrate - before it is too late.  I kid you not.


How Do Aussies Tell The Difference?

Eliot Ramsey, if footage of Mr Howard picking his nose existed the election would be at least a little interesting. A vote could then be cast for Mr Howard one the nose picker or Mr Howard two (Rudd) the ear wax eater. Is it possible Mr Howard could keep a role writing Mr Rudd's policy after the election?


Alan Curran says:

I still think Bob Brown is barmy, he gives me the creeps.

At least he doesn't eat his own ear wax.


At least he doesn't go

At least he doesn't go around the place sadistically withholding medical treatment for the victims of his business mates and then insulting them on their last legs because they dare protest the injustice rather than just lay down and conveniently die.

Better a mild gross-out than premeditated slander and malice.

Squeeze me

Ernest William says:

Well might they say "who do you trust with the economy?"

So, Ernest, what do you think should be done to bring credit card debt under control?

To Eliot Ramsey.

G'day Eliot,

I think that you would agree that total deregulation in business is a bad way to go.

That was proven by the 1930's Great Depression.

It raised its ugly head again just recently when it was euphemistically called sub-prime mortgages.

In short, very risky debts by careless and irresponsible finanacial institutions.

The Howard housing boom was also a careless and irresponsible act by a government of depraved indifference. And when he was confronted on the serious family disasters that this could bring, Howard said, "buyer beware".

The Howard/Costello intention to continue the economy they inherited from the Hawke/Keating government was merely to create a debt-laden false one. 

For example they allowed the banks  and financial institutions to relentlessly and irresponsibly offer cashless plastic card credits (including by mail) to people that was far beyond their capacity maintain.

Again like America, there are increasing numbers of citizens who will never ever be out of debt.

Sure, people should not complain unless they have an alternative but, in this case, isn't that what a responsible government is for?

Cheers Ern G.

Eleven years of a debt-laden false economy.

Perhaps the ultimate Howard con is the debt-laden foreign debt combined with the personal credit card debt.

I found a link which is unfortunately dated December 2006 on http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1804944.htm]

I also quote from Sauer-Thompson:

"The generalized statement, by financial journalists referring to Australia's foreign debt as "the banks debt" is totally dishonest. Australia's current account deficit (not offset by foreign investment) has increased Australia's foreign debt to 520 billion, as in the Opinion article above

The Reserve Bank borrows foreign currency to offset the current account deficit.  Foreign exporters to Australia require foreign currency in payment for their goods (Mercedes cars etc.)  Payment in Australian dollars is then exchanged for Reserve Bank foreign currency loan borrowings.

Reserve Bank debt is really Government debt.  Foreign loans to Australia's Federal Government should be approved via Parliament.  Current Account Deficit is a budget responsibility, which should not be a devious secret.  The Swiss Bank loans in the past were a disaster for borrowers.  The major Banks should not be engaged in foreign currency speculation in such a massive way.

Let's all remember that the big pitch by the Howard/Costello "team" in the election of 1996 was the old crumbling truck with the huge signs on its sides regularly updating the foreign debt of the Keating Government, which peaked at $180 billion.

The leader of the Liberal Opposition, Mr. John Howard said:

"...the debt was an indictment of economic mis-management and a key factor in higher interest rates."

And the wannabe Treasurer Mr. Peter Costello said:

"We're pleased to put foreign debt on the agenda in this country because we don't want Australians, bit by bit, to watch their productive assets and their productive capacity go into foreign hands.

There's a question of national identity about this.  Do we as a country to be in hock to the rest of the world?"

 How is that for the greatest heap of hypocritical deception ever delivered on the Australian people? They were able to do this because of the open and transparent records kept by the Keating Labor government. Not so anymore under Howard.

And so the $180 billion had escalated to $520 billion in Howard's tenth year of power when these figures were produced.

Credit card debt has reached $41,000,000,000 (billion).

Well might they say "who do you trust with the economy?"


GetUp & believing politicians

The various posts claiming that GetUp is ‘just a labor front’ mystify me.  Having been on their mailing list for many months, I don’t recall anything that was simply pro labor.

Their statement: ‘This is not about GetUp taking sides, it's about a functioning house of review where no one party - whether Liberal or Labor - holds all the cards’   Seems to me to be a fair representation of their position.

This appears to me to be an eminently reasonable position. In fact I believe that the last election was one of the few times that the electorate, collectively, got it wrong. I don’t believe that anybody —   very few anyway — intended the coalition to have control of both houses.   Over the years I have met very few who believed government, any government, can be trusted with  untrammelled power.

Mary j Shepherd: how I agree with you! Often enough I have written that for one to hate a person, that person must have some significance.

Roger Fedyk: I have argued, often, that Australia does not in fact have a democracy, not by the  the people, etc, certainly not representative, where the MP represents the interests of the electorate, but rather a modern version of the ‘god king’.   Upon election to leadership of the party, that person becomes all-knowing.   Nothing else explains the complete change of policy of a party when the leader changes, or the fact that both Howard and Rudd pronounce a position without reference to the party.

On who is going to do anything — not anything meaningful, but anything at all — to address the issue of climate change, do not take any notice of what they may, or may not sign, but look at what they are prepared to do.

I have suggested to the Labor party that they might gain a little credibility if they announced that all Commonwealth cars would be replaced with Hybrids, or any other equally fuel efficient vehicles, if they are elected.

Nobody who witnessed the APEC circus could believe for a split second that any of the idiots who organised it have even heard that there is an extremely serious situation that must be addressed urgently.

And a question.   If the invasion of Iraq is not a major issue in this election, just what does it say about Australians?

Disclosure: non-party political. In favour of dismantling the party system, or at minimum having the Mixed Member Proportional representation system adopted.   I can be found at straightsquiggles.com     

Honest Politics

I confess to being a sceptic.

In opposition parties profess to be for open government.

Parties in government never have been.

It will go the way of the other party's non-core promises I believe. 

In memory, only

When Howard first came in he promised greater transparency and ministerial accountability. He put in place a ministerial code of conduct and several ministers were disowned for not declaring their financial interests. How much difference a decade makes:- we used to call him "Honest John" in contrast to Keating's cynical manipulations. He also used to pretend to be an environmentalist.

I found it fascinating that the Federal government voiced a desire to protect journalists from revealing their sources but that they had no requisite intention of protecting whistle-blowers themselves. It seems to show you who is pulling the strings here.

Costello's own move towards secrecy mentioned in the above piece over petty economic data disturbs me, as I believe he is a man with a bias towards truth and openness.

David are you Paul Kelly?

Do you know what child?   I get sick to death of this absurd Howard hater's crap you lot sling around.   We don't hate Howard, we hate his bloody policies.

Howard is simply a cipher not interesting enough to bother hating so why don't you wander off back to the US or somewhere.

10% Is A Lot Of Votes

I can't see why you have a problem with the Greens if they hold the balance of power Alan Curran. The Democrats did a great job when they did no matter which party was in power.

I know Margo says she's voting for the Dems in one house and I agree that Andrew Bartlett sounds like one of the more intelligent Senators. I still find it hard to forgive Meg Less though and the damage she did to the Dems.

You are correct David Davis about Labor in the past, but none of those people are in power now. Richardson is long forgotten .A new Labor government would really have no reason not to keep it's promise about FOI laws-there aren't any skeletons to be uncovered about them.

Now if it were NSW state Labor, I bet there are some real horrors lurking there in the cupboard.

Lot of votes

 Michael de Angelos, the problem I have with the Greens is that they can promise whatever they want, knowing that it will probably be 50 years before they become a political force in Australia. As for Richardson being long forgotten, I think not, we are still waiting for the s**t to hit the fan when the full story comes out. You say "Labor has no skeletons to be uncovered", surely you jest.

Sorry Alan

G'day Alan.

I'm not keeping my eyes on the ball, am I?

You are still an important part of this forum.

Cheers Ern G.

Peter speaks the truth about lies

All these Howard haters act as if Labor had not perfected the art of the political lie a generation ago.  Richo wrote a whole book on how Labor lies called Whatever it Takes.

Yet the Howard Haters would have you believe all governments have been lily white until bad old demon Howard came along.  Nonsense of course, but that's what they pedal.

You have 70 years of experience to know it is nonsense, Peter, so thanks for pointing it out.

Get up is just a Labor front

Why would I read anything they put out?

All they do is advocate a vote against the government and the only true beneficiary of that is Labor.

We need to be crystal clear on the nature of Get Up because it seems some folk are confused.

Get Up Got Up And Went

DD, I'm confused. Get Up is a Labor front. How do you know this and what is the proof?

But for the sake of argument let's say that they are. So what are you saying, should we leave howardthebastard and the Coalition in power?

If neither Labor or Liberal are worthy of government ( and you know my thoughts on that) then what is the point of elections? Let's just save ourselves a whole lot of grief and money and anoint howardthebastard's mob as dictators in perpetuity, disband Parliament, and execute the Greenies and other minor party rabble.

Good idea, you reckon?

Of course if we want 'real' democracy and a Bill of Rights we can apply for entry as the 51st State of the Union.

But wait here's another idea. We do away with elections and give each party 4 years in turn as the government with their snouts in the trough. Different set of pigs each time so that all get a go. Then we don't have to put up with 12 years of supercilious smugness from some old fart, just an orderly queue at the slops banquet.

Who cares who the leader is then. Dame Edna and Sir Les can represent us at appropriate state occasions and we can have an Australia-wide lottery for all the overseas conferences and other gigs. You won't need to know anything because everything is for sale to those with the best kickback system.

Nirvana, my man!

Kerrie Tucker has momentum...

Kerrie Tucker's campaign is hitting its straps after a recent poll showed her well in the running to knock off the Liberal Senator in the ACT and thus end Howard;'s Senate control on election day. Here's her latest statement:

Greens the mainstream party on policy says new poll

How interesting. All of a sudden, the Greens are clearly the mainstream party on policy, and Labor and Liberal are recognized as out of touch.

Today’s Canberra Times poll of voters in the bell weather seat of Eden Monaro has found that nearly 9 out of 10 voters have seen through the con of tax cuts to offset dangerous drops in funding for quality public education and a sound public hospital system for all Australians.

According to 88 percent of Eden Monaro voters, money for education and health is preferable to a tax cut.

Further, their rating of the issues shows that the Greens are the party with longstanding, consistent policies and priorities reflecting the views of most voters on at least 4 out of their 5 top priorities - health, education, the environment, IR and the Iraq War.

On the fifth, the economy, the Greens’ decades long policy of moving quickly to adjust policy for climate change again show them to be the party of the future – for without urgent, whole of government policies on the issue, our economy is doomed, according to Sir Nicholas Stern and other world experts.

In Canberra, voters have two chances to press home their concerns with the short term policies of both major parties.

In the House of Representatives, you can vote 1 Green to make your views clear. When, as is likely in most House of representative seats, the Greens votes are eliminated before the major parties in the count, full value of your vote will flow on to the party of your choice remaining in the contest.

In the Senate, Canberrans have a once in a lifetime chance to make a difference to the entire Australian Parliament. Electing me in the Senate to replace Liberal Senator Gary Humphries would immediately ends Howard’s absolute control of the Senate.

When, if, as now appears likely, a Labor government is elected, I can represent your concerns and priorities directly in the Parliament with the oomph of balance of power to pressure Labor to keep its promises and make wise policy for all of us.

In addition, a Senate not controlled by either major party will mean the Greens have a chance to work for a re-empowered Senate committee system, which is one of the most effective accountability mechanisms in the parliament.

It’s time to give the major parties a very big wake up call!

Kerrie Tucker

Go the Greens!

The only party for years that has dared to talk about the real issues. 


Kerrie Tucker says "I can represent your concerns and priorities directly in the Parliament with the oomph of balance of power to pressure Labor to keep its promises and make wise policy for all of us".

Does anybody really believe anything this women says? She will push the Greens point of view for the Greens. Nearly 90% of the population think they are are a joke, and this shows up in the voting figures.

GetUp's latest email - rescue the Senate!

Dear friends,

For the first time in Australian history, three competing parties have come together in one political ad - under the GetUp banner - with an urgent plea to all Australians: Vote to end the Coalition's rubber stamp in the Senate!

Since the Coalition took absolute Senate control, they've made it a mere rubber stamp for their own policy. And if they retain control, they will have veto power over legislation on the issues that matter - from climate change to IR to Indigenous affairs.

Our recent polling shows that control of the Senate rests on a knife's edge - and with up to 2 million Australians yet to make up their mind how they will vote in the Senate, this ad can tip the balance. Can you donate $100, $50, or just $25 to get this ad on the air in the states where the balance of power will be decided?


This is not about GetUp taking sides, it's about a functioning house of review where no one party - whether Liberal or Labor - holds all the cards.

What's brought these leaders from the Greens, Labor and the Democrats together? Two years of frustration.  Frustration that the Coalition has rejected 98% of other parties' amendments while passing literally 100% of their own. Frustration that ill-conceived legislation was passed on their watch without even the pretence of cross-party compromise.

The good news is that the Coalition holds its majority by just one seat.  We're already running an intensive grassroots campaign in Canberra, South Australia and Victoria, where our efforts can tip the balance of power in the Senate - now we need your help to broadcast this ad and campaign all the way to the election to ensure that no matter who wins, we get democracy back. Click here now to watch the ad.

One of the good things about not being a political party is you can break the rules and bring people together across party lines in really exciting ways - like creating an election ad starring three major parties.

They've never done this before because never before in Australia have 200,000 people come together across party lines as an independent political force for change. You've astounded the establishment before - most recently when over 4,000 of you donated over $250,000 for our Climate Cleverer ad. Let's get this ad on the air where it really matters.

Thanks for making it happen,

The GetUp team

Restore honest politics?!

Please be a little more careful  with your headings. 'Restore honest politics'   suggests that there was time when politics, and by association, governments were honest.

Not in my lifetime! And I can speak for all but 70 years!

GetUp on keeping Promises

Dear friends,

Don't you just hate it that every time an election comes around politicians try to woo you with a million promises that seem to disappear into thin air as soon as they get elected?  This year, GetUp is putting an end to all that.

Welcome to our new initiative - Promise Watch - our own 'wiki' to make sure all promises are core.


This election season you can log every campaign promise that is made. Whether you hear it at your local community hall, read it online or have it shoved into your letterbox, we want you to log it on our new site!

Together we can hold the future Prime Minister - and every other MP and Senator - accountable for promises made. As soon as the new government is formed the Promise Watch clock will start ticking and together we will make sure they deliver on a progressive Australia.


Here's how it works:
Every time you hear, see, or read about a politician promising to do something - even if it's just to look into an issue when elected - go to our new and log the promise, so that we can hold them to account. And you can help fund GetUp to make sure these promises are costed and implemented, by clicking here.

Learn more and start reporting promises today:


From GetUp to Wikipedia, we already know the how the internet can leverage coordinated action and shared knowledge to serve a common purpose.

If each of us logs just one promise over the next six weeks, we'll have more than 200,000 ways to 'keep the bastards honest' long after the usual media scrutiny and election coverage is off the front page.

Let's harness the power to change the way politics works.

The GetUp Team

PS GetUp's role will become even more critical on the other side of the election, so help us plan for an accountable Parliament by making a regular monthly donation now.

PPS - If you want to be part of the Promise Watch moderating team email us at volunteer@getup.org.au.

Margo: Thanks Denise, and great to meet you at the Sydney launch. Photos are here (Denise is the lady in red).

Keeping promises

Denise Parkinson, you say "we'll have more than 200,000 ways to 'keep the bastards honest."

I remember when the Democrats said the same thing, and now it looks like they will no longer exist after the election. I believe that after the election Getup will fade from the scene and you will never hear from them again, because they are a front for the Greens and Labor.

FOI requests for DIMA

In September 2004 I put an FOI request to DIMA for Roqia Bakhtiyari wanting all the documents proving that she was married to, was associated with or was ever known to be associated with someone called Asghar Ali, DOB 1957, from Quetta or documents proving she was from Pakistan.

We got a reply within the 30 days with silly questions like "what does the word associate with" mean and other lunacy.

Nothing arrived until 10 days after the government illegally deported them to the wrong country with no papers and dumped them to sleep in the snow from where they were deported back to Afghanistan.

When I got the bundle there was only 30 of the 90 files included, about 2 reams of blank paper, many bits blacked out and none of the ACM reports from Woomera that had been requested.   Don't know why not because I already had them by then.

The couple of dozen documents displayed a machiavellian cruelty towards an innocent woman and her young kids that was monstrous beyond belief but still people cheered out of hatred for 6 little kids when they were shoved onto that plane like animals in the middle of the night.

I hope the ALP will open up FOI because they did a fantastic job for me exposing the horrible lies told by the government about this family but the FOI was a disgrace.

Dynamic lifter

Editorial in The Australian today requests Howard to show his hand on the 'open government' ticket. Media need access to information, so this issue is pretty important. Both parties will be sweating on what the editorials will say in the last week. Since the main media are in hock to big business interests, Peter Garrett may be singing solo the next few weeks.

The seats of Wentworth and Melbourne could be decided on environmental issues. Turnbull is in a difficult position, but may not be so easily cowed by Howard. Tanner will be watching how the Victoran Government's channel deepening project shapes up.

A Labor government will thrive on a healthy Greens segment in the Senate. If it helps them to pitchfork the remnants of the DLP from their stable, so much the better.

A Valuable Addition to the Experience Database

Mr Ellis' carefully documented contributions are a valuable addition to the experience database of Australian whistleblowing. We need this kind of material, and much more of it, On the Record, for its intrinsic worth to informing the cut and thrust of informed public debate, and as well documented evidence on how our dominators really operate.

My ancient piece on whistleblowing still has purchase here, as does my more recent piece on workplace psychopathy and bullying.

Good to see Mr Ellis largely followed the good advice of whistleblowing scholars such as Associate Professor Brian Martin, even if he might not have known of Brian's valuable work.

Honest Politics?

My ageing memory might be failing me, but one of the first shameful acts by the newly elected Goss Labor government was the shredding of the Queensland Police Special Branch files. After the Fitzgerald Inquiry's litany of exposures, upon which I helped report for several years, many Queenslanders and Queensland exiles - Margo, were you one of them? - were looking forward to seeing our Special Branch files, to seeing what dirt they'd accumulated on us over the years of resistance to Bjelke-Petersen. We already knew how these were used to smear actual and potential 'traitors'.

 Much to our disgust, one fine day, a very large mobile shredder was backed into a loading dock at the then Queensland Police HQ and into its maw went all those files, irrevocably removed from public scrutiny.

Again, I might be wrong, but wasn't it the Goss Government that perfected the technique of wheeling large fridge moving trolleys loaded with document boxes into and through Cabinet meetings - contents largely unseen - so they'd be declared 'Cabinet In Confidence' and thence exempt from FoI access and rather subject to the 30 year rule. If the Goss Government didn't invent this caper, they certainly used it on occasion. 

I might also be wrong about this, but Wayne Goss's Chief of Staff at the time was Kevin Rudd, and I well recall how scared of him even Cabinet Ministers and their press secretaries - several of whom were former scribes and hacks I knew quite well - were. They sometimes called him 'The Skull', off the record of course, and in whispers.

Just my modest contribution from the Deep North.


Now, Alan Curran, I'll have the campaign for Wentworth run properly and with decorum if you don't mind.   The Greens candidate (if she is after 1 November) is Canadian.   I don't think that is her fault.   Criticise her policies or mine or Tom's as you like but don't play the dummy play the ball.

 BTW, great thunderstorm out to the North-west.

Honest Politics

Margo,  "Honest Politics." Surely a contradiction in terms.

I still think Bob Brown is barmy, he gives me the creeps. I met his candidate for Wentworth at a shopping mall, she is a non-entity. If this is the best The Greens can do they will never be a force to be reckoned with. 

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