Varied News Sources in Oz? #Where? [#geekgirl]
IPA “Australians have at their fingertips access to more news from more varied sources than ever before”. Oh sure..
— Steven Curren (@sacurren) January 30, 2014
#Abbott Moves Against The ABC & SBS [#geekgirl] [#GrrRRrr]
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has launched a calculated attack against the freedom of the press with today’s announcement of a governmental “efficiency study” into both of Australia’s public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS:
“In a statement, the Department of Communications says it will examine operational costs as well as products and services in order to “increase efficiency and reduce expense”. The decision comes a day after Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed the broadcaster was unpatriotic in its coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks and asylum seeker abuse claims.”
Doesn’t Tony Abbott remember the following comments he so stridently voiced back when he was Opposition Leader (that are freely available on his own Political Party’s website) regarding how the then Prime Minister of Australia should accept that:
“… politicians don’t always like the coverage that they get but if you’re in public life you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and a vigorous, critical media is an important part of a healthy democracy…what I will never support is any attempt to try to bluff the media out of doing its job which is to hold bad governments to account….regardless of who owns the newspapers I think it’s important that the media in Australia robustly hold governments to account and any attempt by government to slide out from under critical scrutiny is just wrong.”
Read the rest of Abbott’s mindbogglingly hypocritical comments here, quickly, before the rush to censor it like they did to the Gonski Report website and other inflammatory “hoist-by-his-own-petard” speeches by Abbott. Oh, and in my not-so-humble-opinion, be prepared for the results of the “efficiency” [HA!] study to most likely show that the ABC *needs* (just imagine I’m a closed-minded typical right winger here for a sec, m’kay?) to:
- Have its funding significantly reduced and/or
- Be sold off to the highest bidder (considering privatisation is the acceptable right-wing-bog-standard-solution to fix a country’s woes, yes?).
Now #Abbott Plans to Destroy #Tasmania’s Forests…. [#GRRR] [#geekgirl]
[From the sumofus.org] "It’s not often that environmentalists, the timber industry and unions agree on forests -- but now Tony Abbott wants to shred their landmark agreement to protect Tasmania’s forests. In just a few days, the government will ask the World Heritage Committee to strip Tasmania’s forests of their protection -- and we can’t let this happen.
It’s less than one year since Tasmania’s forests were given the highest level of protection. Green groups and the timber industry still support the agreement -- and even the Forestry Industry Association is asking the government not to interfere. But Abbott’s determined to undo this historic agreement to save the forests, unless we can show him the public won’t accept it."
A new suspect in bee deaths: the US government [#geekgirl]
[Via Quartz] “As scientists race to pinpoint the cause of the global collapse of honey bee populations that pollinate a third of the world’s crops, environmental groups have indentified one culprit: US authorities who continue to approve pesticides implicated in the apian apocalypse.
Case in point: The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conditional approval in May of sulfoxaflor, a type of agricultural pesticide known as a neonicotinoid. The European Union has banned neonicotinoids for two years in response to scientific studies linking their use to the sudden death of entire beehives, a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Over the past six years, CCD has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives worth $2 billion. Bee colonies in the US are so decimated that it takes 60% of the nation’s bee population to pollinate a single crop, California almonds. And that’s not just a local problem; California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds.
Now environmental and food safety groups are seeking to overturn the EPA’s green-lighting of neonicotinoids in a series of lawsuits that for the first time invoke the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect the bees. “EPA inadequately considered, or ignored entirely, sulfoxaflor’s harm to pollinators and the significant costs that harm will impose on the agricultural economy, food security, and natural ecosystems,” attorneys for the nonprofit Center for Food Safety and other groups argued in a legal brief (PDF) filed in December in litigation aiming to revoke the approval of sulfoxaflor. “
Tim Wilson Tweets Protestors Should be Watercannoned [#geekgirl]
“The parliament tonight is in chaos…” [#geekgirl]
And with those words Tony Burke (Watson, NSW), the Manager of Opposition Business said what many were thinking.
That comment came at 10:27 Tuesday 10 December, when the Government used their numbers to gag debate, silence dissent and ram through legislation.
We currently have a completely incompetent government which is trying to tell us that “no” means “yes”, and this is damaging to our democracy.
The following exchange came barely 10 minutes after Mr Burke declared the parliament was in chaos. It is blatant example of the Speaker (Liberal MP, Bronwyn Bishop), changing reality to benefit the Government, of which she is a member.
Hungry Planet [#geekgirl]
Spy Agencies’ Covert Push to Infiltrate Virtual World of Online Games [#geekgirl]
[Via The Guardian] “NSA files: games and virtual environments paper NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments.”
Nauru Immigration Detention Centre in Pictures [#geekgirl]
“ASD goes rogue with Aussie metadata” [#geekgirl]
As reported by The Delimiter: “Australia’s peak electronic intelligence agency offered to share detailed information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners, the Guardian reported this morning, in moves that at least one high-profile lawyer says may have breached Australian law.
The accusations reportedly date back to a meeting held between the then-Defence Signals Directorate (now the Australian Signals Directorate) in 2008 in the UK. Also reportedly attending the meeting were Australia’s main intelligence partners the US Britain, Canada and New Zealand. At the meeting, according to notes released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the DSD offered to share extensive data about Australian citizens.
QC and human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson has also published an opinionated article arguing that the ASD has broken the law in offering the data to Australia’s international partners.
The article has generated instant outrage in Australia’s digital rights community. Greens Senator and Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam held a press conference in Canberra this afternoon (YouTube video) to denounce the ASD’s actions over the issue.
“Today’s revelations about coordinated mass-surveillance of ordinary citizens will increase the pressure on the Australian Government to come to the table with transparency and reform proposals without delay,” Ludlam said in a separate statement.
“The publication of documents in which Australian spy agency DSD (now ASD) quite casually proposes to share ‘unminimised’ metadata obtained without a warrant with affiliated agencies overseas, implies that the agency may have been breaching Australian law for five years.”
“As Geoffrey Robertson QC points out, this would be in breach of sections 8 and 12 of the Intelligence Services Act 2001. The agency has the obligation to destroy ‘unintentionally’ obtained on Australians; instead, these discussions show the DSD contemplating sharing with overseas agencies and non-intelligence agencies.”