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!
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
Local community campaign calling on the government to restore train services and to increase service frequencies.
Full story: www.localnewsplus.com.au/story.php?ID=58043
Restore Inner West Line Founder & Campaigner Hi my name is Roydon Ng (Roy) and as a local resident of the area for over two decades, I share the sentiment with many frustrated commuters at the shortening of the Inner West Line (terminating at Homebush).
The new timetables introduced on October 20, 2013 highly disadvantages communities between Homebush and Liverpool as train services to/from the City via Regents Park have been cut to non-existent levels (3 per weekday). Also the added interchanges at Lidcombe and Birrong stations are also another inconvenience and difficult for many commuters along the Bankstown/Inner West Line.
I am working together with other local residents, our representatives in parliament including Barbara Perry (MP for Auburn) and the community in calling for more train services in the area which can be achieved through the state government agreeing to Restore the Inner West Line between Homebush and Liverpool via Regents Park.
This campaign and community action group is only possible through the support of many residents and fellow commuters and I thank everyone for their contribution and involvement.
If you would like to contact for me about this campaign or to work together, please send me an email: email@example.com
I also post updates and information on Facebook:
Sign the Restore Inner West Line petition online:
Restore Inner West Line: Founded in late September and launched on 19 October 2013 by Roydon Ng
Here is the official transcript of the question that I asked and her response:
QUESTION 11: Hi, my name is Roydon Ng. I'm an ex-student of this school.
PRIME MINISTER: Good.
QUESTION: In fact, my picture is right behind you. It's the one near - yes.
PRIME MINISTER: You haven't aged at all.
QUESTION: I'm from last year's class.
PRIME MINISTER: You know, one day you're going come back to this school and you will have aged from that photo. I can tell you that for sure, because I get to go back to my high school a bit.
QUESTION: Yes. I'm a Christian, and I highly value the Christian community that this school and the Christian faith has provided me. Prime Minister, you profess no religious affiliation, so I would like to ask you what do you base your decisions on and what's the ethical basis in the way you make such decisions?
PRIME MINISTER: Okay. That's a really good question, and I think you and I could have a profound and deep discussion about that. Unfortunately, the format of Community Cabinet isn't going to enable us to spend the many hours these questions deserve.
But just a snapshot about me. I mean, we're a migrant family, we're Welsh migrants. We're Baptist. I grew up in the Baptist religion, and we were regular churchgoers. I was a regular youth group attender, and all the rest of it. I used to very much enjoy my Bible studies, and I used to win prizes for catechism and things like that.
When I look back on it now, I think it was particularly important for my family and my mother because when you migrate, I think, through the church, whatever religion you are, that's one of the ways that people find connections and a sense of belonging and new friends when you've moved country, and I think that was true for us all those years ago, and I am sure it's true for people migrating today. We've actually had some of those conversations in the lead-up to Community Cabinet.
So I think, having spent all of that time in, Christian teaching, I do take those values with me. I think that there are Christian values which are really universal values about how you treat people. They're the values that are replicated across the great religions of our world, about how you treat people and how you aspire to be treated yourself.
So I take those values with me, and they still informed my decision making, even though I'm not an active person of faith. But thank you for your question.
I also got to meet with Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy before the start of the Community Cabinet meeting to talk about media censorship laws and the National Broadband Network's competitiveness and pricing.
On a journey of discovery