‘Fake News’, spin, deception and lies. If you believe some latest reports on Australia’s recent election result, it appears that all these things played a part.
No, I am not a sore loser. This result is not about sporting teams, where one ‘side’ wins and the other team loses. It is far more important than that.
Nevertheless it does seem that facts were, in some areas, a bit ‘thin on the ground’.
It also seems that lies were deliberately spread.
If these reports are true, then an examination of them is necessary.
Facts are important.
Rumours are not important.
Gossip is not important.
But lies can turn out to leave impressive messages – in a nasty and truly negative way.
Lies and deception can halt and ruin progress.
Lies and deception can ruin lives.
During the lead up to last week’s election, lies were (apparently) placed and spread strategically.
That’s more than not fair. It’s more than misleading; it’s dangerous.
The outcomes of lies are often hard to predict. We should be aware – as well as beware.
(Let’s get this straight – it is not only in Australia’s latest election that these strategies were utilised; it is evident in other countries’ politics. It is just that Australian political manoeuvres have been very recent).
Way back in the early 18th Century, Jonathan Swift said, “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect.”
Is there any hope that things will change?
We can only hope that one day people will come to understand that facts are important.
That good, decent facts are essential for civilised living and civilised progress.
In other words, it is truth that we should seek.
When the pursuit of power far exceeds the desire to help one’s fellow man (and lying is used as the way to achieve it), we are in trouble; not only as a nation, but the world’s whole existence.
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is”, said Winston Churchill
I have mentioned the importance of facts but haven’t mentioned all the other missing elements: equality, decency, compassion, empathy - and kindness.
Where are these?
I’m becoming sort of obsessed with inequality!
It’s the money thing.
An ordinary working ‘Joe Blow’ or ‘Josie Blow’ spends most – or all - of their income on the necessities of life – week after week. They pay their share of taxes and accept that that is the way society works.
Their more wealthy counterparts usually only spend a portion of their weekly earnings, as they are able to save some of it, even after buying more luxurious goods that our Joe and Josie cannot afford, but that’s okay. They pay their taxes as well.
Nowadays there are over a million millionaires in Australia, so being a millionaire is not uncommon. And we hope that they all spend well and also pay their taxes.
Then we have the VERY, VERY, EXTREMELY wealthy – the billionaires.
There are a few.
According to, Forbes Billionaires List as of March 2019, (in $US), there are 2153 billionaires in the world.
Let’s think about it. Read this slowly…
If you had a billion dollars (that’s ONE billion dollars) and you had to spend it all on ‘ordinary things’ and not buy such a thing as a holiday island, you would have to spend $5000 a day for 500 years before you ran out of money. And, that’s just ONE billion.
It is very hard to even imagine.
Graeme Norton, who is NOT a billionaire, had this to say,(UK, 2017):
“You see people who are worth a billion and they’re still doing tax dodges and you think how can you be bothered?
These people who go to incredible lengths to dodge tax would be just as rich if they paid the tax - and would be living in a much nicer country.
One where people were looked after, where crime was less, where housing was better and people were better educated.
So the money you’ve saved on tax, you’re probably having to use to pay for barbed wire around your property. It seems totally wrong-headed.”
Here’s a list of Australia's 10 richest and how much they have:
Gina Rinehart, $21b, Australian mining magnate and heiress. (Said to be the world’s richest woman).
Harry Triguboff, $9.2b, Chinese-born Australian billionaire real estate developer.
Vivek Chaand Sehgal, $6b, Indian-born Australian billionaire businessman.
Frank Lowy, $5.9b, Australian-Israeli businessman. Chairman of
Anthony Pratt, $5.5b, Executive Chairman of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries in America.
Andrew Forrest, $4.4b, former CEO (and current non-executive chairman) of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), with interests in the mining industry and cattle stations.
John Gandel, $4.1b, Australian businessman, property developer and philanthropist, made his fortune in the development of commercial real estate.
James Packer, $4.1b, Australian billionaire businessman and investor.
Mike Cannon-Brookes, $3.4b, the co-founder and co-CEO of the software company Atlassian.
& Scott Farquhar $3.4b, co-founder and co-CEO of the software company Atlassian.
Lindsay Fox, $3.4b, founded the Australian logistics company Linfox., Australia's largest privately held logistics company.
THINK WHAT COULD BE DONE WITH ALL THOSE BILLIONS, MUCH OF WHICH ‘SITS AROUND’, DOING NOTHING. NOT MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE (AS IT COULD DO) BUT MOSTLY JUST ACCUMULATING.
I’m not accusing any of the above billionaires, but it is interesting to note that, there were 732 companies (many overseas based) who paid no tax in Australia in the 2015-16 financial year. Collectively, their income was more than $500 billion.
And of 321 companies on the list of Australian-owned private companies with an income of over $200m, 98 paid no tax.
What a massive difference it would make to the country if we had no tax avoidance!
I feel I must repeat something I have quoted before, but it’s an important explanation to help us understand the hugeness of BILLIONS of $$$$ and the astounding awfulness of inequality.
From the book, “Battlers & Billionaires, The story of inequality in Australia”, written by Dr Andrew Leigh (an Australian politician and former professor of economics at the Australian National University).
READ THIS S-L-O-W-L-Y…..
‘…imagine a ladder on which each rung represents a million dollars of wealth. Now imagine Australian population spread out along this ladder, with distance from the ground reflecting household wealth.
On this ladder, most of us are just a few centimetres off the ground. Half of all households are closer to the ground than they are to the first rung. The typical Australian household has a wealth of about half a million dollars, placing it halfway to the first rung. A household in the top 10 percent is one and a half rungs up, at about knee height.
A household in the top 1 percent is five rungs up, about neck level.
The mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is nearly ten kilometres off the ground’
Something to mull over?
Did you know that one billion* = 1,000,000,000. It is the number that follows 999,999,999 .
(ONE Trillion is a THOUSAND times that!)
*Incidentally, it is now accepted that a billion is a thousand million.
In British & Australian speak, a billion USED to be a million million. We might one day have to revert to the old version to describe the amount of money our richest people have, because we will run out of $$ vocabulary.
I know I shouldn't get too particular concerning politics right now..., but I am stuck with these details about how our current Prime Minister is managing money, since he claims he's good at it.
(And, sorry, this post is all about Australia).
Our PM’s ‘knows how to manage money’. Here’s a few examples of how he (& his party) does it:
-$1.2 million for MICHAELIA Cash’s legal bills.
-$184 million to fake reopen Christmas Island
-$60,000 for a media stunt on Christmas Island
-$423 million closed tender contract with Paladin for a 17 month contract to deliver services for 432 refugees
-$200 million re-election propaganda advertisements for the LNP COALITION GOVT
-$30 million gift for Murdoch’s FOXTELL
-$2.8 BILLION wage CUTS for Australian workers, with more cuts from 1st July
$889 million tax concession for Murdoch
-ZERO tax paid by Gina Rhinehart
-ZERO tax for 75 billionaires
-ZERO tax for 745 corporations
-$4.2 billion moved offshore by MURDOCH and paid ZERO tax
-$126 wasted costs for a postal survey vote for SSM
-$80 million for dodgy water buy backs
-$200 billion for obsolete weapons
-$65 billion for corporate tax cuts (proposed)
-$17 billion for big banks (proposed)
-$135 billion per annum for the rich
-$60 million for a Captain Cook statue in Morrison’s electorate
-$6.7 million to re enact the circumnavigation of Australia which never happened in the first place
-$7.7 billion for fossil fuel subsidies
-$444 million gift to the Great Barrier Reef foundation
-$3.8 billion to boost weapon sales
-Spent $74 million of our taxes to pay Nickel Mining workers some of their entitlements- Clive Palmer has paid his workers ZERO
-$60 million Royal Commission witch hunt against Unions and Labor
-$Untold costs of the Indue card said to be $10 thousand dollars per applicant per year
-The doubling of debt by the LNP. The debt rides at more than QUADRUPLE the debt left by Labor Government of $250 billion dollars gross debt after the World 1st class Economy after the GFC.
NOW (2019) the debt rides at $756 BILLION DOLLARS GROSS DEBT under this LIBERAL COALITION GOVT and that’s not including the Turnbull NBN debt of $650 Billion dollars.
That equates to a DEBT of $1.4 TRILLION DOLLARS and this is what it looks like ….$1,400,000,000,000……..a lot of dollars!
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.