Federal Member for Kingsford Smith and Labor politician, Matt Thistlethwaite visited his alumni university on 13th April to discuss the current state of Australian politics. About a hundred journalism students participated in media conference asking Matt Thistlethwaite a range of questions about the economy, asylum seekers, education and local issues.
Hong Kong's so called #FishballRevolution: A crackdown on street food hawkers in Mong Kok escalated int a riot: Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (CY Leung) has condemned the violence. Photo: Edward Wong
With the Federal Election later this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull still has a lot to do to convince voters that his government deserves to be re-elected. Here's our pick of some key issues that should be at the top of Malcolm Turnbull's 2016 bucket-list.
The Budget: Malcolm Turnbull better be sitting down with Treasurer Scott Morrision to prepare a voter acceptable and economically viable Budget in May otherwise the Coalition will be risking another caning - this time at the ballot box. The recent Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook contained new cuts to health, welfare and aged care with the deficit of $23.8 billion predicted to worsen over the next three years. Scott Morrision will have to negotiate stock market and commodity prices instability in the next six months.
Taxation: The Goods and Services Tax is hot on the agenda again with the Labor Opposition claiming that the Coalition Government is preparing to lift the rate to 15%. This has been denied by the Government although it says that everything will be on the table to be considered. Many opinion polls have consistently shown that Australians are not supportive of changes to the Goods and Services Tax meaning that this will definitely be a contentious issue required careful political movement by the Government.
National Security: With Australia still on alert from increased terrorist incidents and the changing power relations in the Asia-Pacific region, the Turnbull government needs to work out where it stands on its external and internal defence policies. The government needs to be seen to be taking measures to protect the Australian population as no Prime Minister wants to be seen as weak in the eyes of voters. The government's Defence White Paper and anti-terrorism legislation to be released laer this year will definitely be interesting reads.
Health, Education & Welfare: After several years of attempts to find savings in the Budget by slashing funding for health, education and welfare, the government might need to try a little harder to win back many voters disillusioned with the so called austerity response to the 'deficit emergency'. Labor has promised to fight the Government on the issue of cuts to services particularly to changes with Medicare. The government might also want to try a new approach to welfare and university funding as it's also been a source of protests against the Coalition in the past.
Coalition & Government Ministers: With Parliament resuming soon, Malcolm Turnbull needs to select two MPs to replace Jamie Briggs and Mal Brough after both resigned for inappropriate conduct. It is likely that the Liberal's Coalition partners, the Nationals will be eyeing out another ministerial position. The National Party leadership will also be an interesting development to watch as Warren Truss may soon be replaced by Barnaby Joyce or a not yet known challenger who will become deputy Prime Minister of Australia.
Media Laws & the NBN: Changes to media ownership legislation is set to be presented in the first half of the year. The "reach rule" limiting television stations to a maximum of 75% national reach and the "two of three rule" preventing a single media entity gaining control of a daily newspaper, a radio licence and a TV licence are all set for review and debate. The Nationals believe that more should be done to assist local content producers and regional Australian media consumers. The National Broadband Network will also be used by both the Coalition and Labor in political point scoring opportunities as construction continues behind schedule and over-budget.
It's been a big and interesting year in 2015 for Hong Kong, let's take a look at some of the top headlines!
I’ve been thinking about whether Malcolm Turnbull as Australia’s latest Prime Minister would actually do a better job than his predecessor Tony Abbott. I mean, with the former Prime Minister setting such a low standard, it wouldn’t actually be that hard right?
Now, before you start yelling at me and saying that Tony Abbott deserves nothing more than to be shot over his short tenure in office, here’s some food for thought. Each election night, we often (but not always as in the case of 2010) hear a Prime Minister claiming victory at the polls. For Australians we have become too quick to assume that a particular party has won the election. Arguably over the past decade elections have been lost and not won.
It is a blessing to share fellowship with nearly 3000 young people in the name of Jesus and even better than that is to witness tens if not hundreds of hearts turning over to the Lord. Not only has RICE Rally 2015 tackled the question of worth, it reminded us of an even greater truth - one of welcome arms that is willing to accept those who repent. From the upfront tabling of issues that young people use to falsely assume their worth such as academic performance, friends and relationships, drinking or money to symbolically addressing the struggles that many in the world including Christians of all ages face (maybe even the issue of same-sex marriage which was addressed symbolically the RICE board and their wives in Family Feud as a declaration that a man and a woman form one of the key basis of marriage and family), RICE Rally 2015 has been an excellent opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel even with its excess of Asian jokes.
Non-definitive as in that the answer to most questions in Arts & Social Sciences is that there is no objective answer to pretty much anything...
Here are some of my top #artslyf tweets and posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Metadata Retention Effects Press Freedom
Recently the Federal Parliament voted to give law enforcement and intelligence agencies access to an unprecedented amount of information on all Australians. The Coalition Government and Australian Labor Party passed the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015 requiring telecommunications service providers to store enormous amounts of personal data of every Australian for a minimum of two years under the mandatory data retention scheme.
This has created a mass surveillance regime that will target all Australians at a time when other countries have abandoned this approach, and Australians will likely pay for this increased surveillance through taxes and additional phone and Internet charges. This is despite overwhelming evidence that mandatory data retention schemes do not work to reduce serious crime and are a substantial assault on privacy.
The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015 lacks in-depth protection for journalists as well as their sources.
Metadata retention will have a chilling effect on free speech - Malcolm Turnbull, 2012
The question of "who is a journalist?" remains large as the legislation is vague and appears to apply only to professional journalists.
The warrant system leaves journalists and press freedom in the dark. "If you are going after sources then you are going after journalism" - MEAA CEO Paul Murphy
Under the new system journalists would not know whether an application has been made to access their retained data, or that this access has been granted, is still extremely concerning.
A journalist's status should not be determined by their pay, if you are not a paid/professional journalist and believe you deserve the same privacy protections and exemptions from data retention, send a message to the Parliament
Take Action at www.iamajournalist.com.au
Treasurer Joe Hockey has delivered his second and potentially final budget tonight with a focus on small business, reducing the budget deficit, acknowledging the drop in iron ore prices, allocating more money for northern Australia counter-terrorism and helping farmers. In delivering the 2015 Federal Australian Budget, the government has had to deal with pressure from the Australian public after nearly a year of protests and also simmering discontent among its own Coalition ranks with nervous backbenchers slowly reflecting on February’s leadership issues.
NSW Election 2015: Election Night Live Blog