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Borderforce on the Streets of Melbourne. A deliberate Act to Create Fear?

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

The plans of the police and Australian Border Force to start patrolling the streets of central Melbourne to “randomly” check for visa details, was  cancelled after very strong public protests. “The Abbott government is under pressure to explain why the police-led operation including the ABF involved stopping people for visa checks – a measure independent Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie compared to East Germany’s Stasi.”

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-border-force-to-patrol-melbourne-cbd-as-part-of-antisocial-behaviour-operation-20150828-gj9qtd.html#ixzz3k9eL6zDV

 

Tony Windsor, the former independent Mp for New England, had the following to say:

“Mr Windsor said: “I’ve got no doubt that some of these people in Abbott’s government hope that something goes wrong domestically. That they can taunt a Muslim into doing something so that they can say that we’re the only ones that can protect you, the Labor party are too weak to protect you, vote for us,” he said, adding, “I think that’s an extraordinary agenda to go to an election on.” Full article here:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/former-mp-tony-windsor-border-force-patrol-was-a-deliberate-act-to-create-fear-20150828-gjaj8a.html

A similar interpretation of the action (diverting attention from policy failures) was also given in a detailed article by Peter Hatcher in the Sydney Morning Herald, August 29-30 (“Leadership vacuum is filled with hot air”). The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, however, denied any knowledge of the action and blamed a poorly formulated press release for the “misunderstanding”.

Corrected sunspot history suggests climate change not due to natural solar trends

Monday, August 10th, 2015

According to the International Astronomical Union (7 August 2015), sunspot activity over the last 400 years has remained more or less stable and cannot, therefore, be responsible for global warming since the industrial revolution.

 

“The Sunspot Number is a crucial tool used to study the solar dynamo, space weather and climate change. It has now been recalibrated and shows a consistent history of solar activity over the past few centuries. The new record has no significant long-term upward trend in solar activity since 1700, as was previously indicated. This suggests that rising global temperatures since the industrial revolution cannot be attributed to increased solar activity.” 

“The Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715, when sunspots were scarce and the winters harsh, strongly suggests a link between solar activity and climate change. Until now there was a general consensus that solar activity has been trending upwards over the past 300 years (since the end of the Maunder Minimum), peaking in the late 20th century — called the Modern Grand Maximum by some.”

“This trend has led some to conclude that the Sun has played a significant role in modern climate change.”

 “The apparent upward trend of solar activity between the 18th century and the late 20th century has now been identified as a major calibration error in the Group Sunspot Number. Now that this error has been corrected, solar activity appears to have remained relatively stable since the 1700s.”

Full article (Science Daily) here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150807220750.htm

 

 

A new book on the history of climate change politics in Australia

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

A book on the history of climate change politics in Australia, describing the disastrous influence of the right wing media (particularly those controlled by Murdoch) and the big mining corporations has just been published. Author is Maria Taylor (“Global Warming and Climate Change. What Australia knew and buried….then framed a new reality for the public”).  http://press.anu.edu.au/titles/global-warming-and-climate-change/ : A free copy can be downloaded at this address.

The book is based on Taylor’s research for a PhD at the National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science of The Australian National University. From the ANU site on her book: “Her multi-disciplinary investigation of the public record and the input of science, politics, economics, journalism and contemporary mass media has revealed for the first time how and why Australia buried a once good understanding of global warming and climate change — to arrive after 25 years at the confusion and stalemate we are still in today. “

An outline and discussion of he book is available here:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2015/aug/06/how-australians-were-ready-to-act-on-climate-science-25-years-ago-and-what-happened-next

Excerpts:

“In 1989 Hawke described a “growing consensus amongst scientists” showing there was a strong chance that major climate change was on its way, that this change was linked to human activity, and this could have “major ramifications for human survival” if nothing was done.”

‘The Howard government …….. cautious climate policy positions ……. to justify it through media articles. That modelling was supported financially by the likes of the Australian Coal Association, the oil giant Exxon Mobil and the mining majors BHP and Rio Tinto.”

 

” ……. by 1997, many political and economic reporters were “dutifully scribing the story established by the business and political elite”.

A point to make is the role of the media in Australia, which is so dominated by the Murdoch press. That played a key role, in a sense that as the 90s rolled on it was so much easier to get out a consistent narrative if you don’t have a really diverse press. From what I saw – and what the documentary evidence showed – the ABC did have a leadership role for a long time in informing the public about climate change, but it really drew back in the late 90s. There was no other story being told.

Free-market neoliberal thinktanks, including the Institute of Public Affairs, promoted climate science denialist views and industry talking points that were picked up by the media.”

Niall Ferguson: Civilization, und Goethes Faust

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Der britische Historiker Niall Ferguson, bekannt unter anderem durch sein Buch The Pity of War, in dem er die Ursachen des Ersten Weltkrieges untersucht, und weitere Bücher, hat in einem brilliant geschriebenen Buch einen Abrisss der geschichtlichen Entwicklung der westlichen Zivilisation gegeben und versucht, die Ursachen ihres Erfolges zu verstehen (Civilization. The Six Killer Apps of Western Power, 2011). Auf Seite 305 (der Penguin Ausgabe von 2012) zählt er diese killler applications auf. Sie sind: Wettbewerb, wissenschaftiche Revolution, Herrschaft des Gesetzes und der representativen Regierung, moderne Medizin, die Verbrauchergesellschaft, und die Arbeitsethik. In einer Fussnote auf Seite 324 (sozusagen als Abschluss des Buches) erwähnt er als ‘foundational texts of Western civilization’ (als grundlegende Texte der westlichen Zivilisation) die folgenden Werke: King James Bible, Isaac Newtons Principia, John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, Adam Smith’s Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations, Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, und Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (und als Anhang William Shakespeare’s plays und ausgewählte Reden von Abraham Lincoln und Winston Churchill).

Diese Auswahl scheint mir etwas einseitig anglozentrisch zu sein. Wie wäre es hiermit?:

Luthers Bibel (durch Gutenbergs Erfindung des Massendruckes der direkte Anlass zur schnellen Verbreitung des Wissens und aller späteren wissenschaftlichen Fortschritte), Johannes Kepler Astronomia Nova und Harmonices Mundi, Goethe Faust I und II, Immanuel Kant Über den ewigen Frieden, Johann Sebastian Bach Matthäus Passion, Beethoven Neunte Symphonie, Gregor Mendel Vererbungsgesetze, Max Weber Die Protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus, Ludwig Boltzmann Entropie, Max Planck Quantum, Albert Einstein Allgemeine Relativität. Und ferner (keine ‘Grundlagen’ der westlichen Zivilisation aber vielleicht mehr zukunftsweisend als zum Beispiel Konsumerismus und Wettbewerb): Die Upaschinaden und Arthur Schopenhauer Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung.

Auf Seiten 65-66 zählt er die wichtigsten 29 “breakthroughs” zwischen 1530 und 1789 auf. Überraschend, Keplers Gesetze der planetarischen Bewegungen fehlen, ohne Zweifel eines der wichtigsten Entdeckungen der Renaissance und von vielen als von entscheidender Bedeutung für die wissenschaftliche Revolution im 17. Jahrhundert angesehen, eine wesentliche Vorraussetzung von Newtons Gravitationslehre. Die Entwicklung des binären Systems durch Leibniz sollte ebenfalls hier stehen.

Der bekannte schweizer Ökonom H.C. Binswanger hat in einem Buch ausführlich beschrieben, wie Goethe in seinem Faust die Entwicklung der modenen Welt dargestellt hat. Faust, der Repräsentant der modernen Welt, ist ein tatkräftiger Unternehmer, sein Erfolg möglich gemacht durch die Erfindung des Papiergeldes (das die Goldwährung erstetzt), die Äquivalenz zwischen Währung und produzierten Güter, und die Eigentumsgesetze). Historisch genau beschrieben ist im Faust die folgende Sequenz: 1. Papiergeld  (Bank of England), Dampfmaschine (James Watt) und damit Anfang der industriellen Revolution, Römisches Eigentumsgesetz des “Dominion”, d.h. das Recht zu benutzen und zu konsumieren: Code Napoleon). Goethe weist auch auf die potentiellen Gefahren hin: eine wirkliche Gefahr besteht darin, dass bei wirtschaftlicher Entwicklung die Konsequenzen für die Umwelt nicht in Rechnung gestellt werden. In anderen Worten, Faust ist der moderne Mann mit all seinen Stärken und Schwächen. In keinem der von Ferguson angeführten “foundation” – Texten wurde auf die potentiellen Gefahren durch die Zerstörung der Umwelt hingewiesen; Goethes Faust ist also zumindest in diesem Punkt viel zukunftsweisender.

Was die Bibel anbetrifft, nicht die King James Bibel sondern Luthers Bibel ins Deutsche übersetzt stand am Anfang der protestantischen Revolution und dem schnellen Anstieg der westlichen Macht, ihre Wirkung möglich gemacht durch Gutenbergs Erfindung des schnellen Massendruckes, von Ferguson als die wichtigste westliche Entwicklung vor der industriellen Revolution nur kurz früh in seinem Buch erwähnt. Was bei Ferguson ebenfalls fehlt ist die stärkere Betonung der typisch westlichen Musik die durch Bach, Mozart, Beethoven Wagner und viele andere zu einem Höhepunkt geführt wurde, und ein wesentliches Element des modernen westlichen Menschen ist.

Und was die Literatur anbetrifft, die von Ferguson erwähnten ‘plays’ von Shakespeare sind sicherlich schön und gross, doch welche Schlüsse auf die moderne Welt lassen sie zu? Grimmelshausen Der abenteuerliche Simplizissimus und Brecht Der Gute Mensch von Szechuan und Leben des Galilei scheinen mir in der Hinsicht relevanter zu sein.

Insgesamt, die erstaunlichen von Ferguson beschriebenen ‘Fortschritte’ (wenn man sie so nennen soll) der westlichen Welt in den letzten 300 Jahren sind vielleicht nicht mehr als ein Schluckauf in einer Geschichte, die kurz vor der Katastrophe steht, wenn wir die Fehlentwicklungen nicht in den Griff bekommen. Und können wir hoffen, dass die “foundations”, die von Ferguson gefundenen Grundlagen dieser Entwicklungen, ausreichen, eine bessere Zukunft zu sichern? Man muss wie Ferguson schon ein Bewunderer von Präsident Reagan, Margaret Thatcher und Churchill sein, um das zu glauben, und viele sind das nicht.

Ich schliesse mit einem Zitat von Noam Chomsky aus meinem vorhergehenden Post:

“Die menschliche Spezies gibt es schon vielleicht seit 100.000 Jahren und sie steht jetzt vor einem einzigartigen Moment in ihrer Geschichte. Diese Spezies ist jetzt an einem Punkt, an dem sich sehr bald entscheiden wird, in den kommenden Generationen, ob das Experiment des sogenannten intelligenten Lebens weitergehen wird oder wir fest entschlossen sind, es zu zerstören. Überwiegend erkennen Wissenschaftler, dass fossile Energieträger im Boden bleiben müssen, damit unsere Enkel eine Zukunft haben. Aber die institutionellen Strukturen unserer Gesellschaft versuchen, jeden Tropfen aus der Erde zu pressen. Die Folgen, die Auswirkungen der vorhergesagten Effekte des Klimawandels für die Menschheit in nicht sehr ferner Zukunft sind katastrophal und wir rasen auf diesen Abgrund zu.”

 

H. C. Binswanger. The Challenge of Faust. Science 281, 31 July 1998.

H. C. Binswanger. Money and Magic: a Critique of the Modern Economy in Light of Goethe’s Faust, University of Chicago Press 1994 (transl. from German).

Niall Ferguson. Civilization. The Six Killer Apps of Western Power. Penguin 2012.

Noam Chomsky über den Klimawandel und die Zukunft des intelligenten Lebens auf der Erde

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

 

 

Noam Chomsky, der berühmte Wissenschaftler und Politik-Kommentator, in einem Interview mit dem ‘Freitag’ im MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

Auszüge:

“Noam Chomsky: Die USA sind ein Schurkenstaat, Europa ist extrem rassistisch”

“Hoffentlich gibt es endlich einen Volksaufstand gegen die vernichtende, zerstörerische Wirtschafts- und Sozialpolitik, die von den Bürokraten und den Banken kommt.”

“Die menschliche Spezies gibt es schon vielleicht seit 100.000 Jahren und sie steht jetzt vor einem einzigartigen Moment in ihrer Geschichte. Diese Spezies ist jetzt an einem Punkt, an dem sich sehr bald entscheiden wird, in den kommenden Generationen, ob das Experiment des sogenannten intelligenten Lebens weitergehen wird oder wir fest entschlossen sind, es zu zerstören. Überwiegend erkennen Wissenschaftler, dass fossile Energieträger im Boden bleiben müssen, damit unsere Enkel eine Zukunft haben. Aber die institutionellen Strukturen unserer Gesellschaft versuchen, jeden Tropfen aus der Erde zu pressen. Die Folgen, die Auswirkungen der vorhergesagten Effekte des Klimawandels für die Menschheit in nicht sehr ferner Zukunft sind katastrophal und wir rasen auf diesen Abgrund zu.”

 

Vollständiger Artikel hier:

http://de.euronews.com/2015/04/17/noam-chomsky-die-usa-sind-ein-schurkenstaat-europa-ist-extrem-rassistisch/

Solar activity and new “little” ice age, and another interpretation

Monday, July 20th, 2015

The Lomonosov State University Moscow has published a press release that presents evidence for the possibility of a small “little” ice age developing in about fifteen to twenty years. The evidence is that the sun undergoes cycles in activity indicated by the number of observed sun spots (50 per year during the previous little ice age lasting from 1645 to  1700, and 40 – 50 000 during the warmer period after it), and that we are approaching a point when activity should decrease.

 

“In 17th century, though, there was a prolonged reduction in solar activity called the Maunder minimum, which lasted roughly from 1645 to 1700. During this period, there were only about 50 sunspots instead of the usual 40-50 thousand sunspots. Analysis of solar radiation showed that its maxima and minima almost coincide with the maxima and minima in the number of spots.”

“If the similar reduction will be observed during the upcoming Maunder minimum this can lead to the similar cooling of the Earth atmosphere. According to Dr Helen Popova, if the existing theories about the impact of solar activity on the climate are true, then this minimum will lead to a significant cooling, similar to the one occurred during the Maunder minimum.

However, only the time will show soon enough (within the next 5-15 years) if this will happen.”

 

Full article here:

http://astronomynow.com/2015/07/17/diminishing-solar-activity-may-bring-new-ice-age-by-2030/

 

I have asked Professor Michael Box, a renowned climate physicist from the University of NSW, Sydney, to comment on this post and he has given me permission to add his comments here.

Klaus,
Yes, it is causing quite a stir, isn’t it? Let me see how much light I can shed.

The analysis techniques used to underpin the prediction of very low sunspot numbers (principal component analysis) is well known and ‘valid’ as to what it does. Using it to project into the future is somewhat less valid, as other factors which have not shown up in the past data may be waiting in the wings. I guess I would rate the chances of very low sunspot numbers in the 2030s as less than 50-50, but certainly not at, or close to, zero.
So that brings us to the more important issue of the impacts. The Little Ice Age (so-called) is certainly ‘real’, although many questions remain.
When did it begin? I’ve seen dates of anywhere from 1300 to 1450 – both well before the start of the Maunder Minimum in 1645.
When did it end? Again I’ve seen dates as late as 1850 (well after the end of the MM in 1715), which might well imply that the only reason it did end is the onset of global warming!
Was it global, or regional? There is plenty of evidence from Europe and some from North America. I’ve seen a suggestion of some evidence from New Zealand. However there do seem to be many questions around the uniformity of the cooling.
So that brings us to the really key question of the causes/drivers. Solar activity is certainly one possibility, although as I’ve indicated the MM certainly couldn’t have started it. It may have made things just a little bit cooler – say 0.2 C – but it wasn’t the cause! Other suggestions have been a slowing of the Gulf Stream (it has slowed significantly in the past. ~11,000 years ago); volcanic activity (a couple of major eruptions followed by some feedbacks); and ‘orbital forcing’. We know that changes in the Earth’s orbit are the drivers of the glacial-interglacial cycle (something one of the authors of the paper in question is clearly ignorant of!), and these drivers don’t stop and start, but are on-going. We probably are heading ever so slowly for the next glacial.
Like most scientists who have made ‘meaningful’ comments, my view is that, if it does happen, it will reduce global warming by ~0.1 C – or delay it by ~10 years. And that delay would only be temporary, and temperature would zoom ahead in the years that followed.

 

Interesting to compare this critical account with a story published in news.com.au (a Murdoch site), in which the ‘coming ice’ age is more or less presented as a fact (“Earth heading for ‘mini ice age’ within 15 years’) and rounded up with drawing attention to the present cold front affecting SE Australia:

“Tropical-style thunderstorms, accompanied by heavy snowfalls, roared through the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and towns as far as Orange on Saturday night.”

Full story here:

http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/earth-heading-for-mini-ice-age-within-15-years/story-e6frflp0-1227439329592

Marching into the Past: Cutting down on Renewable Energies and the Freedom of the Press

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

From the Sun Herald ( a Fairfax weekend newspaper) 12.July 2015:

“Tony Abbott has been warned he is putting international investment at risk after ordering the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to finance new wind power projects.”

Both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer have repeatedly claimed that wind farms are noisy and ugly. No such comments about a new open cut coal mine in fertile agricultural lands in NSW, just approved by the Federal government.

According to the ABC on 13.7.15, “small scale solar power” projects are also banned.

 

“Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been accused of unprecedented political interference in the ABC by demanding the broadcaster move panel program Q&A into its news division before he lifts a boycott of the program.

In a letter sent to ABC chairman Jim Spigelman on Friday, Mr Abbott said he would be happy to lift a ban on his frontbenchers appearing on Q&A if the ABC transferred the program from its television department to news and current affairs.”

Abbott had previously banned his ministers from appearing on the TV show, and the Minsiter for Communications Malcolm Turnbull, as well as the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joice, who had agreed to appear on the show, complied.

Urgent action necessary: Contrasting futures for ocean and society from different anthropogenic CO2 emissions scenarios

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute and Professor of Marine Science at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Deputy Director of James Cook University’s Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, and an ARC Laureate Fellow in 2013, is one of the authors of a paper just published in Science vol. 349, 3 July 2015, no. 6243, DOI: 10.1126/science.aac4722: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6243/aac4722. in which the effects of climate change on the oceans are discussed under two scenarios, one if we continue as now, the other if we reduce temperature rise to 2 degrees.

Professor Hoegh-Guldberg has also published an article in Conversation accessible to the wider public, in which he emphasises the need for urgent action if we want to avoid disaster: “……..the ocean system could not be more important: it regulates the global temperature and atmosphere, feeds 3 billion people, and largely determines our weather. The ocean also has lots of “inertia” – which means that getting the ocean to change takes a lot of energy, but once it begins to change, slowing it down becomes more or less impossible…..” . Full article here:

https://theconversation.com/new-report-the-chance-to-rescue-the-worlds-oceans-from-climate-change-is-drifting-away-43257

 

The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission on Changes to the Citizenship Laws

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, according to the Sydney Morning Herald 6-7 June, 2015, “has warned that Australian democracy is under threat” by “government moves to expand discretionary powers that may be exercised with limited or no judicial scrutiny”.…… “The overreach of executive power is clear in the yet to be defined proposal that those accused of being jihadists….will be stripped of their citizenship if they are potential dual nationals”.

The Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, had earlier attacked Professor Triggs “for making outrageous and offensive claims that were a ” ‘complete disgrace’ “. Similarly, he attacked Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young who had visited the detention centre on Nauru and had complained of being spied upon during her visit.

Also from the Sydney Morning Herald 6-7 June: Nepalese parents with her 5 year old baby were forced to return to the detention centre on Nauru to live in large tents, where children as young as two had been assaulted, according to a former child protection worker for Save the Children Victoria Vibhakar.

 

See also:http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/06/gillian-triggs-slams-scores-of-laws-threatening-fundamental-freedoms

In this article (The Guardian), attention is drawn to warnings by Professor Triggs about repeated moves not only by the federal parliament and government, but by those in various states, to introduce ” ‘scores of laws’ threatening fundamental freedoms”.

A snapshot of Australian politics 5th June 2015: Jail for reporting abuse in detention centres, free ride in climate change, loss of citizenship without recourse to law, no ethics lessons in schools, no tax disclosure for billionaires!

Friday, June 5th, 2015

 

Some quotes from the Sydney Morning Herald 5th June 2015, which provide an interesting insight into the political situation in Australia run by the right-wing Liberal/National government under Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

1) Australia has chosen an extreme hardline policy on refugees arriving by boat from various Southeast and South Asian countries, mainly Indonesia, turning boats back and imprisoning those refugees who made it to Australia in detention centres on Manaus Island, Papua New Guinea, and the “independent” Pacific Island nation of Nauru. It has now introduced a law that would make it a criminal offense to report abuse in these centres (reports of such abuse including sexual crimes had made it into the press in the past):

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/doctors-and-teachers-gagged-under-new-immigration-laws-20150603-ghft05.html

“Doctors and teachers working in immigration detention facilities could face up to two years in prison if they speak out against conditions in the centres or provide information to journalists, under sweeping new laws to gag whistleblowers.

The Border Force Act, which was passed quietly on May 14 by both major parties, clamps down on “entrusted people” in detention centres recording or disclosing information about conditions in centres such as those on Nauru and Manus Island.

Under the heading of  “secrecy and disclosure provisions”, the act says releasing information is only permitted by the secretary of the department responsible for detention centres.”

“In a media release last month, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the new law would “further strengthen the government’s ability to protect Australia’s border.”

According to Dr. Richard Kidd, one of the founders of the Doctors for Refugees, “the new law was taking away all transparency and accountability”, and  “it is absolutely clear that doctors and nurses are expected as part of their registration to put the best interests of their patients first and that includes advocating for [people] being denied appropriate health services or being abuse in some way” .

 

2) Soon after taking over government, Tony Abbott abolished the carbon tax, reduced the renewable energy target, tried hard but ultimately failed to exclude discussion of climate change politics at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, etc.

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/australia-singled-out-as-a-climate-change-freerider-by-international-panel-20150604-ghgbde

“Australia has become a climate change “free-rider”, dropping off the list of nations taking “credible” action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to a panel led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.”

 

3) The government wants to introduce a law (supported by the Labor party)  to deprive “terrorists” with (potential) dual citizenship of their Australian citizenship without recourse to the law. Potential dual citizens include those who do not actually possess but qualify to obtain a second one.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/hundreds-could-face-deportation-under-proposed-terror-laws-peter-dutton-20150604-ghgyik.html

“Potentially hundreds of Australians could be stripped of their citizenship and then deported, without recourse to the courts as to the merits of their defence, once the Australian Parliament passes tough new counter-terrorism laws with the support of the opposition.”

 

4) The Liberal/National government in the largest Australian state, NSW, is attempting to  weaken access to non-religious ethics classes for those who do not wish to take religion lessons, an option introduced by the previous Labor government:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/premier-mike-bairds-friend-calls-proposed-ethics-changes-misleading-and-deceptive-20150604-ghgn9w.html

 

5) The previous Labor government had introduced a law which obliged rich companies to disclose their income. The present Liberal/National government, in draft laws just released, made 700 private (but not public) companies exempt from that disclosure, because public knowledge might expose them to potential losses in commercial negotiations.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/james-packers-consolidated-press-holdings-among-700-exempt-from-tax-disclosure-20150604-ghgyz4.html

“James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings is among about 700 private companies that are excluded from having their tax details published by the Tax Office under draft laws released by the Abbott government.”

“Public companies with more than $100 million turnover will still be required to report  taxable income, total income and tax paid. “

“Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said Labor’s rules would have allowed for an “open and informed public discussion” about how much tax Australia’s biggest companies pay.”