define('DISABLE_WP_CRON', true); Public Policy – Chris White Online Blogging from a life-long unionist Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:33:12 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 Support ICAN Thu, 21 Dec 2017 20:24:28 +0000 ICAN deservedly wins Nobel Peace Prize.
Please join ICAN and campaign to pressure Turnbull to sign up to abolish all nuclear weapons.

Winning the Nobel peace prize confirms my life’s mission to help end nuclear weapons
Tilman Ruff
It seems that the superpowers of the world have not taken their history lessons as seriously as many of us had hoped they would. Which is why it is heartening that the majority of the world, 122 states, have stepped up and shown leadership.

“People say nuclear disarmament is unrealistic, but what is truly unrealistic is to pretend our luck will continue to hold, and that these appalling weapons will never be used. The humanitarian impacts are too great, and the risks too high. read here

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

Peace Boat in Australia

Will our Nobel peace prize convince Australia to give up nuclear weapons?
Tim Wright
Read more
On Sunday in Oslo, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) was awarded the 2017 Nobel peace prize for
“its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

The prize references the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, which was adopted by a vote of 122 to 1 at the United Nations in New York on 7 July 2017. It provides a historic watershed; a moment of truth regarding the only weapons which pose an existential threat to the entirety of humanity and our living planet.

Ican was a driving force behind the treaty, working closely with governments and other bodies such as the Red Cross to get it over the line, and it could not have come at a better or more urgent time.

For far too long these weapons have loomed over humanity, threatening to obliterate us any day. For far too long the voices who told us that these global suicide bombs were crucial to our security held sway.

Take action

Australian Conservation Foundation leverages peace prize against peaceful technology
peace trust

A Christmas message from ‘Nuclear Free’ campaigner Dave Sweeny of the Australian Conservation Foundation leveraged the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, into a broadside against the peaceful expression of any nuclear technology. The Australian Conservation Foundation deserves condemnation for co-opting disarmament, an issue in which every human holds an equal stake, toward their ideological campaigns against peaceful science and technology.

How Melbourne activists launched a campaign for nuclear disarmament and won a Nobel prize

IPAN Peace conference

IPAN Peace conference

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Tue, 10 Oct 2017 21:29:06 +0000 1507366802109I am a supporter of ICAN and ask for mobilisation to pressure Turnbull to sign the Nuclear Disarmament Treaty. here are posts celebrating International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

The prize comes after ICAN played a pivotal role in an historic UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The treaty was adopted in July by an overwhelming vote of 122 to one. ICAN was the driving force behind it, working closely with governments to get it over the line.

Nobel peace prize awarded to Melbourne-born International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
ICAN urges Australia to sign banning nuclear weapons

Group’s Nobel Peace Prize win spotlights need to end ‘nuclear nightmare’ says UN chief

A Nobel Peace Prize born in Australia
Margaret Beavis

Australians can be very proud. The winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), started in Melbourne. It began when the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW) recognised that nuclear weapons, the very worst of the weapons of mass destruction, were still “legitimate”. This contrasted with chemical weapons, biological weapons, cluster munitions, land mines – even dumdum bullets, which all have been made illegal by UN treaty, with impressive results.
The late Dr Bill Williams, a key member of the founding group, wrote: “After the energetically anti-nuke eighties and the end of the Cold War, nuclear holocaust – always unthinkable – became almost unmentionable. A mass self-censorship, a mental no-fly zone, a cone of silence descended. Little wonder: no sane person wants to contaminate their dreams with this ultimate horror. But to finish this journey of survival – to abolition – we need to penetrate the fog of fear and denial, informing ourselves and our neighbours without inducing psychological paralysis.” read more

Open letter: Parliament, not ministers, must decide Australia’s response to a Korean war

The possibility of war between the United States and North Korea – particularly a war triggered by one too many provocative moves by an unpredictable leader, leading to miscalculation or misinterpretation – continues to threaten millions of people. The consequences of any such war, even a “conventional” one, would be dire.

About 76 million Koreans (51 million in the South, 25 million in the North) would be directly affected, with populations far beyond also likely to be targeted. A nuclear war would have consequences of global proportions, possibly terminal for the world as we know it, with environmental impacts adding to an unprecedented human catastrophe. …

Australia, instead of declaring a “joined at the hip” policy towards the US – a policy that takes on new and alarming meaning in the age of Donald Trump – must uphold the United Nations charter, which outlaws wars of aggression. Ministers who repeatedly refer to Australia’s regard for the rule of law must ensure that, unlike our approach to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, we apply it rigorously.

Simply expressing support for strict economic sanctions – which, unlike sanctions targeted at leaders, will primarily punish civilians, as they did in Iraq – will not hasten a resolution to this crisis.

Australia should make clear that we will take no part in US military moves that could be interpreted as aggressive, provocative or that violate the UN charter. The recent US decision to increase its strategic forces in the vicinity and fly B-1B bombers close to North Korea’s border, while rationalised in terms of “deterrence”, may well increase the possibility of war by accident or miscalculation, especially if North Korea believes a pre-emptive attack is imminent and seeks to strike first.

Regrettably, Australia’s overall approach to the problem of nuclear weapons appears selective. The Australian government steadfastly refuses to join most nations by supporting the newly adopted UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty applies the same standards to all nations, including our allies, and is the most promising nuclear-disarmament initiative in decades.
read here

Will our Nobel peace prize convince Australia to give up nuclear weapons?
Tim Wright

peace trust

Peace actions – IPAN conference Fri, 06 Oct 2017 00:10:58 +0000 IPANconferenceWarren Smith MUA National Assistant Secretary
The 2017 IPAN National Conference in Melbourne, War, Peace and Independence – Keep Australia Out of U.S. Wars, was a great success, building on previous IPAN National Conferences in Canberra (2014), Brisbane (2015) and Alice Springs (2016).
IPANThe Conference lifted and strengthened the public call for an independent Australia foreign policy; and consolidated IPAN’s work in building a broad-based peace movement in Australia.
The Conference was characterised by informative and strong evidence- based presentations by a wide range of speakers (speakers audios are now available to use on IPAN’s website); and the large numbers of participants attending the conference – IPAN affiliates, individuals and interested people previously not familiar with IPAN. Close to 200 people attended the Conference throughout the weekend of 8 – 10 September.
IPAN logo light outline
From IPAN Voice 8 newsletter.
All speakers’ presentations were thoroughly researched, engaging and inspirational, strongly advocating an independent Australian foreign policy that promotes global peace. The wide range of speakers, topics and themes dovetailed into the Conference’s main theme of independent and peaceful foreign policy and keeping Australia out of U.S. wars. Listen here

Many speakers expressed concerns with the integration of Australian foreign policies, defence industries and capabilities into U.S. global military agendas and supporting U.S. wars. Many speakers stressed that now is the time to promote widely and stronger the call for an independent foreign policy and build a broad and united people’s movement for peace and independence from U.S.

The success and interest in the Conference and IPAN reflected the growing public concerns with Australia’s subservience to U.S. global military agendas and the dangers of hosting U.S. bases and the drones program in Australia.

The conference took place at a time of increasing U.S. belligerence and provocations on the Korean Peninsula and the build up of U.S. military on the Peninsula, including the THAAD system and joint military exercises.

In the lead up to the Conference, the wide promotion amongst the community and unions enabled IPAN to reach wider sectors.
IPAN received very positive feedback from many participants, congratulating IPAN for organising an informative and inclusive conference with a strong line up of speakers and a wide range of topics. Conference participants came from around Victoria, Qld, Alice Springs, NSW, South Australia, Alice Springs, Canberra, Tasmania and West Australia. It was a truly national conference with representatives from every state/territory.

All speakers were outstanding, and the 4 overseas speakers in particular of note brought the international solidarity of the people’s struggle for peace, justice and security:

Sung Hee Choi – peace activist from South Korea and Jeju island spoke passionately and eloquently on the history of U.S. military domination of South Korea and called for the immediate removal of THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system, all U.S. bases and troops from South Korea and an end to joint military exercises and for U.S. to get out of Korea. Sung Hee Choi’s presentation were warmly received with the conference unanimously passing a resolution below calling on the U.S. to first remove the THAAD system and stop joint military exercises

David Vine is Associate Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC. He is the author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World. David is also the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. David provided an historical background to the current 800+ US bases operating around the world. Showing us photos of eg Guantamo Bay living quarters for staff little American suburbs placed in far away places like Diego Garcia. His presentation was a real eye-opener. Listen on

Olivier Bancoult – passionately told the conference the long struggle of the Chagossians to return to Diego Garcia from where they were removed by U.S. and Britain to make way for the biggest U.S. military base in Indian Ocean

Murray Horton – NZ peace activist inspired us with his report on the success of NZ peace activists
In keeping US nuclear ships out of NZ and their many campaigns against US bases in NZ.

One of the outstanding features of the Conference was the wide range of organisations attending – from faith organisations, different peace groups, community organisations concerned with lack of public funding to meet community needs, academics, lawyers, journalists and unions.
The Maritime Union of Australia had a strong contingent at the conference with delegations attending from Sydney, Port Kembla and Victorian branches. Representatives and members from other unions included ETU, NTEU, CFMEU. The MUA’s support in particular was enormous and IPAN is indebted to the union and its members.

Warren Smith MUA National Assistant Secretary delivered a passionate speech on why the struggles for peace and justice are union business and the long tradition of Australian unions campaigning for peace and justice

All speakers’ speeches were recorded and are now posted on IPAN’s website,

IPAN Conference Declaration and resolutions on the Korean Peninsula, the Philippines, West Papua and solidarity greetings to the Pine Gap activists facing trial in November were adopted by the conference and detailed below.

Working groups were formed from the conference delegates and addressed the following issues:

(i) Independent Foreign Policy
(ii) Move the Money (from war spending to social useful priorities)
(iii) US Bases; US marines in Darwin
(iv) Militarisation of education; the military -industrial complex
(v) Justice and peace is union business
(vi) Building regional alliances in Asia-Pacific
The enthusiasm and ideas from these groups will help promote existing and future IPAN campaigns. You are very welcome to join and participate in theIPAN groups working on these campaigns; for details see the IPAN web site:

IPAN co-ordinating committee has put a great deal of work in organising the Conference. We wish to thank many of our supporters who enthusiastically promoted the conference to their networks and contacts and volunteered to help on the weekend.

The conference concluded with a protest outside the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne on Tuesday 12 September, calling on the U.S. to remove the THAAD “defence” system and get out of Korea.

Declaration from the IPAN Conference
Central calls of the declaration:
In moving towards an independent and peaceful Australian foreign policy:

• We call on the Australian government and the Opposition to end their unequivocal subservience to U.S. military and foreign policies that have made Australia a virtual rubber stamp, helping to legitimise U.S. foreign policies, military adventures and threats to peace. For example, Australia refusing to ratify the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty; continued support for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the blockade on Gaza, and voting with the U.S. and U.K. against calls in the U.N. for decolonising Diego Garcia U.S. military base and allowing the Indigenous people return to their homeland.

• We call on the government to immediately end Australia’s military engagements in U.S.- led wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

· We call on the Australian government to immediately pledge support for the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Bans Treaty.

· We call for removing U.S. marines and warplanes from Darwin back to the U.S.

· We call for an immediate end to any contribution from the U.S. military intelligence base Pine Gap near Alice Springs to the drone assassination program. Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that US military bases on our soil, including Pine Gap, integrate Australia into the US war machine and lock us into its wars against countries with whom we’re not at war, and jeopardise Australia pursuing friendly and peaceful relations with our neighbours and the international community. These bases deny Australia our sovereignty and our freedom to make foreign policy decisions independently of the US. We support the call made by the former Prime Minister, the late Malcolm Fraser, to phase out U.S. military bases on Australian soil.
· We call on the government to re-direct public funds from supporting U.S. wars and the military-industrial complex into public and community needs such as health, education, income security for all, affordable housing, creating sustainable and socially useful local industries and jobs; and addressing climate change.
· We call for the removal of Lockheed Martin and other military corporations from Australian Universities and schools. We oppose the inroads made into the militarisation of education, manufacturing industries and the economy by military corporate conglomerates like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others.

· We call for the ending of military tensions in the South China Sea by the removal of the military presence of countries not directly involved in the disputed territories. Australia should not be used to provoke a conflict by sending our navy or airforce into the disputed areas.

IPAN Conference Resolutions
Resolution for peace on Korean Peninsula This Conference calls on the Australian government to withdraw from joint military exercises in South Korea and work for a peaceful resolution of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula. To realise a Peace Treaty in the Korean Peninsula requires the following efforts from each side:‐ South Korea and the United States should stop all war exercises, refrain from deploying nuclear weapons in South Korea and work for a peace agreement with North Korea. For its’ part, North Korea should respond by stopping nuclear and missile tests. Passed unanimously
Resolution on West Papua We call on the Australian government to support the inalienable right of the West Papuan people to independence from Indonesia, to peace and security.
Passed unanimously

Solidarity Message to activists opposing DSEI Arms Trade Fair in London This 2017 Conference of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network send solidarity greetings to the activists currently blockading and opposing the DSEI Arms Trade Fair in London. We are here in Melbourne to seek a peaceful and independent Australian foreign policy: commercialisation of war is a major impediment to this. As Aranduth Roy said, “we used to sell weapons to fight war, now we fight wars to sell weapons.” We stand with you in opposing this trade in death and destruction.
Passed unanimously.

Resolution on The Philippines: Keep Australian troops out of The Philippines

We, the participants of the Independent & Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) National Conference, 8-10th September, 2017 in Melbourne, affirm our commitment to justice and peace in the Philippines over violence and hatred and war and call on the Australian Government to:
International Day of Peace protest in Martin Place Sydney.

For a short time on (the International Day of Peace) one of Sydney’s many memorials to militarism displayed messages of peace.
There were two, double-sided placards placed on the soldiers’ bayonets at the Cenotaph in Martin Place. The slogans read:-
“No More War”
“Honour the War Dead by Ending War!”
“Sign the Nuke Ban Treaty!” and
“We Fought for Peace”
International Day of Peace celebrated with 6th Annual Peace Lecture in St Johns Cathedral, Brisbane
In Brisbane the International Day of Peace was celebrated with the 6th annual Peace Lecture held at St Johns Cathedral in the city. The University of Qld and Griffith worked with the United Nations Assn of Australia Qld Branch and Just Peace Qld (IPAN member) to organise.
Professor Henry Reynolds lecture was titles Australia’s Unnecessary Wars. Henry Reynolds spoke about how virtually none of the wars Australia has committed to and engaged in were about the defence of Australia. He talked about the massive loss of life and quality of life for those returning from the Boer War through to today where so many returning soldiers suffer PTSD and poor quality of life for themselves and their families. The lecture was very well received.
The evening was complimented by song and other speakers.

7 October 2017 It’s time to resist! TOGETHER!
Determined activists around the world have been resisting occupation, militarism, and foreign military bases on their lands for decades. These struggles have been courageous and persistent. Let’s unite our resistance into one global action for peace and justice. This fall, during the first week of October, we invite your organization to plan an antimilitarism action in your community as part of the first annual global week of actions against military bases. Together our voices are louder, our power stronger and more radiant. Let’s resist together to abolish war and stop the desecration of Mother Earth. Join us in creating a world where every human life has equal value and a safe environment in which to live. It is our hope that this is the beginning of an annual effort that will better unite our work and make our connections with each other stronger. Will you join us in this global effort?

As Albert Einstein said: “War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished.” Will you join us? Let’s make this possible, together.
With the deepest respect,
First signatories NoDalMolin (Vicenza – Italy)
NoMuos (Niscemi – Sicily – Italy)
SF Bay Area CODEPINK (S. Francisco – USA)
World Beyond War (USA) CODEPINK (USA)
Hambastagi (Solidarity Party of Afghanistan)
STOP The War Coalition (Philippines)
Environmentalists Against War (California)

2015 Against war games

2015 Against war games

The Independent & Peaceful Australia Network

Take a stand against endless war and aggression
IPAN logo light outline
*Afghanistan – 16 years of war- Australia’s longest war
*Iraq 14 years
*Syria 7 years
*North Korea 64 years!
Join us in Brisbane on October 7th as we join with others around the world to call on US coalition governments to leave Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. In North Korea Australia has recently joined the US and others to stage naval and military exercises in the seas off North Korea.
Saturday, October 7th, 2017
11.30am King George Square
Come with friends, colleagues, your MP’s, and Faith Leaders to demonstrate the wishes of people around the world for peace.
Speakers Music and Solidarity
Negotiate don’t Escalate
Solidarity with & support for, the Peace Pilgrims Facing Court in November, 2017

The Pine Gap Peace Pilgrims face court in November in Alice Springs.
The #PINEGAPPILGRIMS face court from 13th November 2017. Pauli Christie who was praying in the valley will oversee the selection of his jury on the Monday 13th. The other pilgrims will meet their jury in court on Thursday 16th November 2017. We invite you to join the Pilgrims in Alice Springs for the court case. Court cases are times of intellectual endeavour and further resistance as we explore ways to keep challenging the military State and telling the stories of resistance. We will conduct public meetings and more actions if we can. We will hear from ‘experts’ who we will call to the trial. We hope to rekindle the spirit of the Pine Gap 4 and the Waihopai 3 and the Rocky Tiger Ploughshares! We will gather from Friday November 10th ready for court on Monday.
We will have a media team, and a remote social media team. We will help organise places to stay for supporters – Best we can. Join us through our sign up for more information and to volunteer where ever you are. Its an opportunity for NEW ACTIONS to #ClosePineGap Lets put #WARONTRIAL Contact Margaret directly on Facebook if you are coming or Cate @wagepeaceau to volunteer Donate here Join us for more actions and events to stop warmaking and surveillance as activists face court in 2017. #Endwarculture #NoMoreUSwars #ClosePineGap The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 September 2017 and will remain open indefinitely. Once 50 nations have ratified or acceded to it, it will enter into force.

United Nations deliberations on Treaty to Ban nuclear weapons development & possession
Donations need for ICAN Campaign to gain Australia’s signature on Treaty

ICAN Australia is calling for donations to fund the campaign for
Australia to sign on to the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons
development and possession.
Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN
It has been a tremendous achievement to reach agreement on the Treaty at the UN and ICAN has been in the forefront of this campaign.
Now the Treaty is open for countries to sign the Treaty and it is obviously vital that Australia is among them.

Could you give this your consideration and spread the call among friends and members of your organisation.Donate by phone:

Call (03) 9023 1958
Donate by cheque:
Please make your cheque payable to ICAN Australia and send it to:
ICAN Australia
PO Box 1379 Carlton VIC 3053
Donate by direct deposit:

Account name: ICAN Australia Inc
BSB: 633 000
Account number: 140361197
On Wednesday 20th September, ICAN activists deployed a banner on the roof of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. The message was loud and clear – “sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty”
READ ON and sign the Greenpeace on-line petition to Julie Bishop
On Wednesday 20th September, ICAN activists deployed a banner on the roof of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. The message was loud and clear – “sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty”
The South China Sea and the Risk of War: A Summary
by James O’Neill

It is self-evident that the risk of war is not confined to the South China Sea. In fact, the risk of war there is probably less than in other significant flash points around the world.

Since 1945 The US has overthrown or sought to overthrow at least 55 governments, of which 32 were successful. Recent examples involving Australia include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. All of these countries, and many others from that list of 55, are now seriously dysfunctional. They have certain other features in common, including the reasons for the intervention, which are rarely as publicized. Similarly, the mainstream media likewise continually misrepresents the consequences.

Is It Time Australia Pursued An ‘Independent’ Foreign Policy?
If Asia’s future is to be led by China, Australia may need to balance out its U.S.-centric foreign policy.

By Anthony Dodd
September 12, 2017

Australia faces a number of key challenges heading into the “Asian Century,” particularly regarding how it will balance its economic and security interests. Since Australia signed the ANZUS Treaty with the United States and New Zealand in 1951 during the Korean War, the country has continued to place a great degree of its protection under the American nuclear umbrella. As the significantly smaller ally, some experts say Australia’s foreign policy has long been subverted to the strategic objectives of its great and powerful friend, which has come at a cost.

Understanding Korea– U-tube documentary
Worth viewing at ;

Please support World Beyond War
South Korean members of a civic group hold banners during a rally against the South Korea-US Joint military drills outside of the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Monday. Photo: AP

Korea Solution Needs US to Sign a Peace Treaty

By Finian Cunninham

The proper starting point is for the US to finally sign a full peace treaty with North Korea to mark the definitive end of the Korean War. It seems almost bizarre that 64 years after the end of that war (1950-53), the US refuses to commit to a peace treaty. The matter is hardly permitted into public discourse by the US government and Western news media. Even though the issue is key to finding a peaceful solution.

The absence of a binding peace settlement means that, technically, the US and North Korea still view each other at being in a state of war. This gives profound substance to North Korea’s existential fears over the US continually conducting «war games» around the peninsula.

RICHARD BUTLER. The Alliance: The Facts and the Furphies
19 September 2017
A review of how we conduct our alliance relationship with the US is urgently required, not simply because it has elected a President who is unfit for his job, but because of the US’ attachment to war.

Australia MUST sign nuclear disarmament treaty
Written 20/09/2017
Today the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) opens for signature at the United Nations. This treaty was adopted in July this year with the support of 122 nations. The treaty prohibits development, testing, production, possession, use, or threatened use of nuclear weapons.

A joint statement released today by IPPNWi, the World Medical Association, the International Council of Nurses, and the World Federation of Public Health Associations urges governments to sign on given nuclear weapons catastrophic health, environmental, and humanitarian impacts.

“This treaty will finally place nuclear weapons, the very worst weapons of mass destruction, on the same footing as chemical weapons, biological weapons, land mines and cluster munitions.” said Margaret Beavis MAPW National President.

The current brinkmanship between North Korea and the US illustrates just how urgent collective disarmament is.

“As long as some countries hold these weapons, other countries will persist in building them, with ongoing proliferation” said Dr Beavis.

There are over 15,000 nuclear weapons globally, with 1,800 on hair trigger alert. Over the past five decades there have been a number of very close calls, where radar or computer faults have nearly sparked nuclear war.

Australia current government is refusing to sign, despite support of well over 70% of Australians in the last three independent surveys on this issue.

Both the ALP and the Greens support the ban treaty.

Australia faces a clear choice: support the banning of these weapons and work constructively with all nations towards disarmament, or watch them multiply and inevitably cause appalling catastrophe. We strongly urge the Australian government to sign this treaty.

For information please contact Dr Margaret Beavis 0401 99 56 99

Joint statement by IPPNWi, the World Medical Association, the International Council of Nurses, and the World Federation of Public Health Associations vailable here

MAPW is the IPPNWi Australian affiliate.

October 7-14, 2017

Keep Space for Peace Week

International Week of Protest to Stop the Militarization of Space

No Missile Defense
Photo from Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence copy
Close U.S. Bases Worldwide

No to NATO

Stop Drones Surveillance & Killing

End Privatization of Foreign/Military Policy

Convert the Military Industrial Complex
A Global Security System: An Alternative to War — 2017 Edition Now Available

Deal with climate change and global poverty.image002
Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence

Support USLAW
North Korea says Trump’s dangerous rhetoric is tantamount to a declaration of war. But even if military officials try to act as a restraint on Trump’s hostility, Trump isn’t bound by the advice he gets from anyone, says Col. Larry Wilkerson in this Real News Network interview. He said, “Most presidents when they’re making national security decisions of this weight and consequence do weigh considerably the advice of those around them. Whether it’s John Kennedy listening to Bobby Kennedy and the others on the Executive Committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or whether it’s Harry Truman listening to Dean Acheson’s counsel in 1950 after North Korea had invaded South Korea. . . . I think the thing I worry most about it is that Trump is gonna make the decision based strictly on his parameters and listen to no one.

CBA breaching anti-terror laws Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:11:08 +0000 Now, Minister Dutton can have CBA executives held without charge and interrogated for breaching anti-terrorism and money laundering laws!

Six Commonwealth Bank ATM deals may be linked to terrorism funding, Austral says Read here

Commonwealth Bank unmasked: why the government is suing over alleged terrorism trail – explainer
Austrac is accusing the CBA of money-laundering and terrorism-financing breaches, claiming ‘suspicious transactions’ went on for years

CBA facing class action
Is APRA’s Commonwealth Bank inquiry enough to stave off a royal commission?
Adele Ferguson
The prudential watchdog’s decision to join other regulators in the Commonwealth Bank “culture attack” has been a long time coming.
To be blunt, it should have happened years ago.

Tighter liquidity at near-zero rates makes it harder to profit from lending money. Banks, therefore, are pushing up fees and chasing swindles. They are acting as ATMs for drug-dealers, gun-runners, terrorists – not to mention tax-dodgers. That is the name of their game.

The ‘culture’ problem is not inside Deutshce Bank or the Commonwealth Bank. The culture problem is real existing capitalism. What never makes the headlines is the laundering of cash from the exploitation of wage-slaves. That core business is not a crime.

Our job is to make wage-slavery a crime. The only way to do that is put an end to the capitalist system. As we said last time, calls for a Royal Commission into capitalism aren’t going to succeed. Anyway, the Report is already in. It’s called Das Kapital. In two weeks, we shall celebrate its 150th birthday.

Humphrey McQueen

More On bankers

Responding to the penalty rates decision Mon, 27 Feb 2017 04:34:28 +0000 1. From Don Sutherland (‘retired’ AMWU): Please debate.
penalty rates cut_n
“Like many others I am very angry on several counts with the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut Sunday penalty rates for Australia’s lowest paid workers. Read decision
How else to react? here is my current thinking …

This very wrong decision on several counts is making a lot of people angry and so it should.

If you know someone who is not angry they need a discussion about how this decision lays a foundation to be spread to other Awards, perhaps the Awards they work under, and will put downward pressure on penalty rates in bargaining for enterprise agreements.

How should the workers’ movement respond? In my view, not just with anger, but with a widely and deeply discussed and developed strategy to win.

I am against a “strategy” based on immediate anger that sets us up for a satisfying day out and another “glorious defeat”.

This Full Bench decision of the Fair Work Commission comes out of an Award review that is required by the Fair Work Act. In this particular review all Awards are under the microscope. The focus in these these particular Awards for workers in hospitality, pharmacy, fast foods has been on their penalty rates, especially the penalty rate paid for working on Sunday.

Employers in the industry and beyond have over several years invested big money and resources to convince the FWC to agree to cut penalty rates for Sunday work. Originally, they wanted cuts to all penalty rates but decided for a strategic reason to focus on Sundays. Do not doubt that their “victory”last week to get Sunday rates cut is a foundation for a renewed assault at some time in the future on other penalty rates also.
While the employers were investing big in their own way to achieve their victory, the workers’ effort – mainly through their unions – was valiant and well-intentioned but puny in comparison. It was entirely defensive, and based on accepting the rules of the Commission and the Fair Work Act.

The employer strategy successfully used prominent Labor pollies, some of them willingly and ex pollies (most notably perhaps Martin Ferguson, formerly a President of the ACTU).

The employer strategy relied very much on the historic memory loss in today’s working class about what an Award actually is. Nothing significant has been done by unions to counter this with worker education.

Remember, the employers originated and escalated this war on living standards, not the Commission. The outcome is a reflection of the current balance of power between Australia’s 21st century ruling class relative to that of the working class.

That is the situation that our strategy must change.

Can we build a strategy loaded with mindful militancy that can reverse this decision and also the whole current momentum against working people facilitated in the bosses’ favour by the Fair Work Act, e.g. lockouts, agreement cancellations, Building Industry code?

Of course we can. Here are some ideas.

The first big strategic decision for all union leaders no matter what level of the union movement you are active in: should we leave the reversing or whatever of the decision to heroic leaders, those at the “top” of the union movement and especially those in the ALP and the Greens in the parliament?

Or, should we return en masse to a conviction that the workers in these industries, and their brothers and sisters in others, can grow together as a social force to reverse the decision themselves through their own industrial and political action?

Put another way: do we see workers of the twenty first century as capable of learning fighting their struggles or as objects whose conditions are decided for them by elites, well meaning or otherwise?

The union movement at all levels must, absolutely MUST, embrace the second approach.
That still means lots of education work and lots of communication that is educational (not cheap slogans and memes) leading to days of action on carefully selected dates.

The Commission is now waiting for submissions from the parties about the timing and process for phasing in the new reduced rates. After that the Commission will set dates for the start of the new rates, probably later this year. So, for example, this year these days of action might be 2-3 days before or on the day of the “submissions” hearing and then again 3 days before the start date. Embedded in these days there must be a workplace, public, social and political demand that each individual employer NOT implement the decision, but infused also with basic education and learning about “what is an Award”, “who are the employers”, “what is their strategy”, and “what is the Commission”.

To the extent that it is necessary, a secondary level of campaigning in these 2 periods might help reinforce worker pressure on MP’s to come out at a local level to urge local employers not to implement the decision.

The second big strategic decision is a notional time frame that this campaign will take 2 to 5 years to win. That is good from our point of view in the workers’ movement.

We need time for education work and union growth organising to build the power to win. We do not have it right now, just the same as the employers did not have enough power to win their objective in 2007. They have understood strategy much better than us and have been ruthless enough against working people and their unions to stick to it.

We have to be every bit as cold and calculating as they have been and more.

Therefore, These days of action MUST be educational and acknowledge that the defeat of this decision might take 2 to 4 years.

Our strategy will probably have to escalate over that 2-4 year period in the spread and depth of awareness among the workers immediately affected and those who will experience the flow on effects of it.

A strategy of this type must culminate with the consequence of economic pain for the employers who wanted this decision and who decide to implement it.

Within it there is the opportunity for the union movement to actively regrow from within the 21 st century working class, basing that on education-driven organising of both union members and potential members.
The next award review will be in 4 years or so, Possibly less. That is the moment for the first really big “culmination” of our strategy in which employers can face the prospect of real economic consequences for their actions.

Genuine working class power can be built to demand not just the restoration of current rates but a significant increase in the minimum award rate, and automatic casual conversion after 3 months for those who want it.
These issues are relevant to all other Awards as well. Common, multi industry actions to take on common big employment problems.

This will be a campaign for all workers because the huge gap between award rates and union negotiated agreement rates is contrary to the fundamental rationale for unionism.

The focus of the whole movement must turn steadily (although not absolutely) to AWARDS not enterprise agreements.

Finally, this “ordinarily people” rooted strategy will require that the Fair Work Act be defied, and probably broken, and ultimately genuinely re-written for workers’ benefit.”

That’s not a reason not to do it but it is a reason for a lot of educational work in preparation.
Update i March: CFMEU taking action to fight back against the war on workers next thursday march 9th: see details in every state. In melbourne at VTHC 10.30am.

Radio 3CR report:

2. ACTU Ged Kearney on the day of the decision: “Prime Minister must act to protect workers from drastic penalty rate and public holiday pay cuts.
Ged ACTU Congress 2015
The Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to radically cut Sunday and public holiday pay will give almost one million Australian workers a huge pay cut.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) calls on the Turnbull Government and all political parties to immediately act to protect working people from any cuts to their take home pay, as the cuts are due to come into effect on 1 July, 2017.

Hospitality, restaurant, fast food, retail and pharmacy workers will have their Sunday penalty rates cut between 25% and 50%. Public holiday pay was also slashed by up to 25%.

This is a loss of up to $6,000 per year for some workers. No worker will be better off as a result of this decision.

This is a cut Australian workers cannot afford and do not deserve. The decision also comes a day after record low wage growth was reported for the second consecutive quarter. Australians deserve a pay rise, not a pay cut.
This decision is a game changer for industrial relations in Australia. The independent umpire makes decisions based on the rules they are given. These rules are contained in our laws. We need the rules to change so penalty rates cannot be cut and our parliament must act now to protect working people.

The ACTU will never accept cuts to penalty rates that result in cuts to take home pay and this is exactly what this decision has done.
Unless he acts now, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be forever remembered as the prime minister who oversaw the cutting of the take home pay of almost one million of Australia’s lowest paid workers.

Retail, fast food, pharmacy and hospitality workers work extraordinary hours and deserve to be compensated for working on weekends and late nights when the vast majority of the Australian workforce does not.
Families across Australia rely on penalty rates to put food on the table every week and to keep households afloat in difficult times.
This decision now leaves the door open for pay cuts for all Australians who rely on penalty rates and public holiday pay to support themselves and their families, including nurses and all other frontline emergency service workers.

first join a union

first join a union
3.Employers’ pyrrhic penalty rates win reflects self-defeating economics
by Jim Stanford

The equity implications of the commission’s decision are odious.
Store clerks and baristas are already among the least-paid, least-secure members of Australia’s workforce. The retail and hospitality workforce is disproportionately female, young and immigrant. Most work part time, and casual and labour-hire positions are common. In short, the burden of this decision will be borne by those who can least afford it….
Touch One Touch All
Young workers hit by Fatima Measham

4. Penalty rate cuts to hasten “mass casualisation” of Australian workforce: report
Adam Gartrell

‘The McKell Institute says the Fair Work Commission’s “alarming” decision to cut penalty rates for a range of retail, hospitality and fast food workers will further discourage employees from pursuing secure part-time or full-time work, pushing them instead into less secure but higher-paying casual jobs.’

Right to strike

Right to strike

‘There was no emergency in Australia’s retail and hospitality sector; no crisis that needed immediate attention. It’s not that stores and restaurants couldn’t do business on Sundays under the existing rules; any casual observer can attest to the brisk trade that now takes place right through the weekend. It’s just that those businesses would be considerably more profitable if wages were lower.

So penalty rates became the target of a sustained pressure campaign by business, backed by conservative political leaders. The commission heard those complaints and acceded to them.

Whatever the precise wording of the commission’s legislative mandate, it was never envisioned as a mechanism for rolling back employment standards; it was supposed to protect them. This decision will therefore spark a political debate not only over the merits of this specific decision, but over the commission’s overall mandate and function.’…
The report warns the changes may also impact future EBA negotiations because it “signals an economy-wide devaluation of Sunday penalty rates” and may serve to undermine future collective bargaining.

Labor hopes to neuter the cut by introducing legislation that would prevent the Fair Work Commission’s decision from taking effect.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seeking his support for the bill.

“You say that you will not intervene because you respect the independence of the Fair Work Commission but it is absurd to suggest that it is not the role of the Parliament to rectify decisions of statutory bodies which undermine the Parliament’s intent in setting them up,” Mr Shorten said.

“It was clearly the Parliament’s intent that the award review process would not ever result in a cut to worker’s pay.”

strike as a last resort weapon

strike as a last resort weapon

The Coalition has previously overturned decisions of independent tribunals, Mr Shorten said, pointing to its intervention in Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and the Country Firefighters Association.”

5.Penalty rate cut: unions have golden opportunity to flex their muscles
It’s not compulsory for employers to fall in line – this could be ‘the greatest workplace organising opportunity in 20 years’
6. The penalty rates cut rewards exploiters at the expense of the exploited
Van Badham

7. Sundays aren’t so special – according to the Fair Work Commission
Greg Jericho

Has our view of Sunday really changed enough to warrant a 25% cut in penalty rates for retail workers?

8. “In November last year, a group of unionists, volunteers and supporters fed up at the SDA’s inaction formed the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union, or RAFFWU.

Since then, RAFFWU has taken a far more active and vigilant stance against employers who underpay, mistreat and exploit their workers. They’ve visited hundreds of workers in supermarkets and fast-food chains around the country, launched the Taking Back Our Penalty Rates campaign, and started renegotiating employment terms for around 400 Bakers Delight workers in Victoria.

RAFFWU President Josh Cullinan reckons if fast-food workers and shelf-stackers under agreements negotiated by the SDA had been receiving award weekend penalty rates like everyone else, it would have been much harder for the Fair Work Commission to cut them like it did today.
“Those workers at the major retail and fast-food outlets have already had these penalty rates cut,” Cullinan says. “That’s half a million workers out of the fight. We don’t think the Commission could have cut rates today if those 500,000 workers were in the fight.”
Cullinan strongly believes the SDA has little interest in trying to protect Sunday rates from going. “If people want their penalty rates back, they shouldn’t be turning to the organisation that cut them in the first place. It’s akin to putting the vampire in charge of the blood bank. There’s only one organisation that’s fighting for these rates, and that’s us.”

RAFFWU has no intention of being silent in the fight to keep Sunday penalty rates; the organisation has already had its largest sign-up day since it first launched. Memberships start from as little as $2.30 a week for under-18s and $3.70 a week for casual workers. Money’s often tight when you’re working retail or hospo, but that amount each week is well worth it for getting a union like RAFFWU in your corner.

If you’re not a retail or fast-food worker but still want to chip in, you can become a RAFFWU solidarity supporter 16864124_1412360328862586_6530863331000423974_nfor as little as you like. It’s a great option if you have family or friends in the industry who you’re sick of seeing getting taken for granted, or if you’re furious about the penalty rate cuts but aren’t sure what you can do to help.

Right to strike

Right to strike

Whether or not Sunday penalty rates get the chop will hinge on peoples’ response over the next few months. If you’re looking for a tangible and effective way to contribute to that fight, giving RAFFWU a leg-up is a great place to start.

Earlier post on RAFFWU
Campaigns are the lifeblood of a strong democratic union. Our campaigns deliver real outcomes when members get involved and spread the word. Here we list some of our current major campaigns. Of course, if you’d like to see a campaign at your workplace then join up and get in touch!

Our priority in 2017 is to Take Back Our Penalty Rates.

Many hundreds of thousands of workers are being paid less than the minimum wages they would earn under the Fast Food Award and the General Retail Award. While some employers have done this on their own, the vast majority of retail and fast food workers have had these minimum rights taken away because the SDA negotiated away your rights. If you want to take back your penalty rates, join us today. Together we can Take Back Our Penalty Rates.

strike as a last resort

strike as a last resort

Franchise workers targeted by new union


More on Sanders and Socialism’s Return Fri, 24 Feb 2017 02:42:55 +0000 Socialism’s Return
After more than a half-century in the wilderness, the socialist left reemerges in America.
By Patrick Iber
FEBRUARY 21, 2017
See earlier my optimistic US experience and following of Sander’s political revolution and socialism.
What about the debate in Australia where ‘political revolution’ and ‘socialism’ is not yet on the political agenda?
Debbie Pope
here is a good account of Sanders and the challenges under Trumpism.


Womans marches against Trump

Sanders anti-war

Richard Tanter on Trump, Australia and war with China Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:46:40 +0000 Richard Tanter, ‘Trump chaos to our north? Where do we stand at the end of US hegemony in Asia?’, Arena Magazine, 146, March/April 2017, pp. 7-9,

IPAN Peace conference

IPAN Peace conference

Download here
“Through a chaotic mélange of intent, incompetence and cultural prejudice, the new Trump administration will overturn the post-war system of US hegemony in Asia. Of course, that hegemonic regime has been creaking for decades, most obviously in the case of the rise of China, and in light of China’s clear determination to have a say in making the rules of the global order. Whatever else Trump does or does not do, his incumbency will dramatically accelerate those geopolitical and system-structural processes.
Peace Convergence banner
Never before has this kind of geopolitical transformation taken place in a conjuncture characterised by a violent globalised economic and class framework, an anachronistic state system of often dysfunctional, nominally sovereign nation states, high levels of global militarisation, widespread possession of nuclear weapons, and, above all, the climate-change impact of the Anthropocene unfolding in what will increasingly be abrupt non-linear form.” …

Picasso Peace dove

Picasso Peace dove

During his Senate confirmation hearing on 12 January, Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, called for a US blockade of China’s facilities on the islands/reefs it occupies in the South China Sea. It is best to be clear on these matters:
a naval blockade is one step away from the outbreak of war, in this case between two nuclear-armed powers.

Several years ago Des Ball and Rob Ayson pointed out that the assumption of most that a potential conflict between China and Japan could be prevented from escalating into major armed conflict is implausible. Their argument, which originally focused on East China Sea issues, carries even more weight in the even more complex setting of the South China Sea, where time for ambiguity in Australian policy is running out.

The Tillerson stream of Trump thinking has plans for Australia. Confirming Tillerson’s intent, a senior Trump transition adviser

told Reuters about specifics under consideration, such as basing a second aircraft carrier in the region, deploying more destroyers, attack submarines and missile defense batteries and expanding or adding new bases in Japan and Australia.
Space for Peacejpg
This view sits well with those in the Pentagon who have been nudging Canberra into still closer alignment with US operational planning. On 23 January Republican Senator John McCain, often identified as irretrievably hostile to Trump, called for US$7.5 billion of new US military spending for an Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative. Reuters reported that

A US military official, who did not want to be identified, said the funds could go to construct new military runways in countries such as Australia and the Philippines.

“The South China Sea issue is the immediate expression of a general urgent need for an independent Australian foreign and defence policy, for which two primary requirements are a policy framework sufficiently disentangled from the American alliance that government can discern where Australian interests and American interests diverge, and the resolution to articulate that policy. The problem is general, but Trump’s China policy makes it urgent.”
“In defence policy, a starting point is to think deeply about the relevance today of three remarkable works from the 1980s and early 1990s. The first is David Martin’s Armed Neutrality for Australia (1984), perhaps the most original book on Australian defence policy. Our first task is to apply Martin’s thinking about neutrality in a bipolar Cold War world to the developing contemporary multipolar situation. What would neutrality mean in relation to China and the United States? If not neutrality, then what? ”

“Labelling Tillerson’s remark as ‘simply ludicrous’, Paul Keating sounded the tocsin:

When the US secretary of state-designate threatens to involve Australia in war with China, the Australian people need to take note. That is the only way Rex Tillerson’s testimony that a ‘signal’ should be sent to China that ‘access to these islands is not going to be allowed’, and that US allies in the region should be there ‘to show back-up’, can be read.
peace trust
Keating is right in saying that we need a firm line from Canberra that, ally or no, Australia wants no truck with this kind of high-risk bravado in a part of the world in which we, unlike the United States, have to live.

This is not just a matter of risk avoidance but of rethinking the deep settler-colonial mindset of Australian foreign-policy discourse, which, as Henry Reynolds’ Forgotten War reminds us, extends back to the Australia and the Boer War of a century ago.”

Whitlam in China
…”And, rather than contemplating acquiescing to suggestions for new US bases or homeporting an aircraft-carrier task group in Fremantle, we need to start setting limits on the activities the United States can conduct from Australian bases to which it has access, including requiring an end to the violations of international law in Pine Gap’s contribution to targeting of US drone strikes in countries with which neither Australia nor the U.S. are at war.” Read the whole article



Waging Peace on War: Canberra. WACA Peace Convergence

earlier posts War with China

Turnbull: No more funding for dementia Wed, 15 Feb 2017 21:43:00 +0000 Turnbull/Morrison budget fails to support dementia funding increase.

Kell was diagnosed with younger onset dementia, Fronto Temporal Dementia or Pick’s disease. Now he’s doing all he can to raise awareness about one of the most heartbreaking illnesses in Australia. What a remarkable man.

Disease Overview – Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration

Who Cares for the carers
Governments have yet to create a coherent strategy to help the almost three million Australians providing informal care

If all the hours of informal care provided in that year were replaced with purchased services, the cost would be a stunning $60.3 billion, roughly equal to the 2017–18 cost of all federal assistance for aged care ($64.3 billion) and around 80 per cent of current federal spending on healthcare ($75.2 billion). But there’s every reason to believe that the numbers are even higher.

Many people don’t see themselves as carers; they are simply accepting family responsibilities. And some are caring for several generations of family: ageing parents, a sick or disabled adult child, and grandchildren. Read here

Dementia campaign for increased funding15 February 2017 ABC radio

‘A person diagnosed with dementia has no chance’: disease a growing cost for families and society
Miki Perkins
Serious and urgent collective action is needed now, to combat or mitigate the impacts of dementia not only within Australia, but globally.

• Tackles the stigma and discrimination associated with dementia and supports social inclusion and participation

• Improves access to timely diagnosis and high-quality health care

• Provides care and support in the community that fosters independence, social engagement and effective support for informal carers

• Ensures access to high-quality residential care and publicly available information about consumer experience and quality of care

• Improves end-of-life care and support for people with dementia

• Commits to increased investment in dementia research.

The National Dementia Strategy would take positive steps
toward a 5% reduction in the number of people with dementia over the age of 65 that could lead to savings of $5.7 billion from 2016-2025, and a staggering $120.4 billion by
2056 and contribute to a global commitment to work toward a World without dementia.

Professor Graeme Samuel AC President Alzheiemer’s Australia
Report Prepared for Alzheimer’s Australia by Professor Laurie Brown,
Erick Hansnata and Hai Anh La
NATSEM at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis,
University of Canberra
prevention programme
Excerpt from the Research Report

Impact of Reduced Incidence of Dementia on Costs

The lifestyle risk and protective factors for dementia offer very real opportunities for prevention programs that reduce the number of Australians developing dementia each year.
In this scenario, it is assumed that the annual age-sex incidence rates of dementia are reduced by 5% in people aged 65 years and above.
• This reduction in the incidence of dementia would lead to a 13% reduction in the number of persons with dementia in the population by 2036 and a 24% reduction by 2056
i.e. there would be 98,529 fewer people with dementia in 2036 and almost 261,000 fewer people by 2056 compared with the current projections of the prevalence of dementia over the next 40 years.
• Such an intervention would result in a total savings of $26.8 billion in the costs of dementia over the next twenty years (comprising savings in direct costs of $17.6 billion
and indirect costs of $7.2 billion) and a massive $120.4 billion by 2056
(savings in direct costs of $76.6 billion and
Indirect costs of $43.8 billion).

Earlier the LNP government cuts dementia funding.
Minister cuts $110m dementia supplement
By Linda Belardi on June 27, 2014
The Federal Government’s decision to axe the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement following a ten-fold blow out in expenditure has drawn sharp criticism from industry and consumer lobbies.
Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield announced on Thursday the government would stop paying the $16 per day supplement to providers from 31 July. Mr Fifield said there was no other responsible course of action in the circumstances and he did not commit to a replacement scheme.
Aged and Community Services Australia CEO John Kelly said the supplement’s scrapping was a knee-jerk reaction that would jeopardise services.
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Glenn Rees said that people with dementia were being made to pay the price for the poor handling of the supplement.

Orange to lose its only dementia support officer as funding dries up ABC Central West By Joanna Woodbury 8 Dec 2016 Funding for Orange’s only dementia support officer is being cut, leaving the district without any dedicated carer from 2017.
The position is paid for by the NSW Health Department and Alzheimer’s Australia, which receives money from the Commonwealth.
21st Century Brain

Constant reports of breakthroughs
My Dementia Reading

For the specific form of dementia FTD Fronto Temporal Dementia or Pick’s disease, you can google the details, for medical research google that. One example:

The study from Lund University in Sweden suggests that one-third of patients with the diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia were physically aggressive towards health care staff, other patients, relatives, animals, and complete strangers.

The Alzheimer’s’ Prevention Program Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan

“Want to keep Alzheimer’s at bay for years—ideally, forever? Prevention is the way, and this is the guide. The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program is essential for everyone with a family history of Alzheimer’s, and for the 80 million baby boomers who worry whenever they forget someone’s name. It’s the book that shows how to strengthen memory and avoid everyday lapses.

How to incorporate the top ten brain-protecting foods into your diet. (I find that for years I have been eating a good brain diet).

How to cross-train your brain, exercising both the right and left hemisphere. (I have been painting – colour for over 20 years).

And how to reduce stress, a risk factor for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s, through meditation (that I have done for years as well as Tai Chi) and 11 other relaxation strategies.

Written by the New York Times bestselling authors of The Memory Bible, this book is an easy-to-follow regimen based on the latest comprehensive research into Alzheimer’s disease, and especially the critical connection between lifestyle and susceptibility. Answers the most compelling questions asked of Dr. Small including: the power of exercise to offset a genetic predisposition; antibodies that can clear Alzheimer’s plaques from the brain; and promising new treatments, from drugs to deep brain stimulation.’ Advert

Here is a listing of what you can do to be brain healthy. Indeed you may well follow as I have the brain boosting diet, alternative therapies, supplements, meditation, yoga, tai chi exercise, lowering alcohol. Unfortunately this does not prevent FTD Frontal Temporal Dementia.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil helps

Blueberry vinegar
Look after your heart

The Tell-Tale Brain: Unlocking the Mystery of Human Nature
by V. S. Ramachandran

fabulous book
Review here

Boost Your Brain The new art and science behind enhanced brain performance by Majid Fotuhi
2013 HarperOne

Everything we think, do, and refrain from doing is determined by our brain. It shapes our potential, our limitations, and our characters. In other words, we don’t just have brains; we are our brains.

This forceful conclusion is at the heart of pre-eminent brain researcher DF Swaab’s international bestseller. It reveals how nearly everything about us – from our sexual orientation to our religious proclivities – is present in our neuronal circuits before we are even born. In short, engaging chapters that combine fascinating and often bizarre case studies and historical examples, Swaab explains what is going on in our brains at every stage of life, from the womb to the radical changes that take place during adolescence to what happens when we fall in love or get Alzheimer’s. Provocative, opinionated and utterly convincing, We Are Our Brains illuminates this complex organ’s role in shaping every aspect of human existence.

Christine Bryden’s story

Christine has written four books about Alzheimers and Dementia. The title of her first book, Who will I be when I die expresses the fear she had about dementia which is supposed to rob you of your identity and personality. Even in the early days, a diagnosis of dementia can result in social exclusion, making the person’s struggle so much worse, as they try to cope with the trauma of their fear of the future, as well as grief at ongoing loss. The stigma that results from the stereotype of the later stages of dementia means that people don’t know how to relate to someone with dementia, so the person becomes isolated with their fears.

Christine is passionate about overcoming stigma, and creating a dementia-friendly society, in which people with dementia are given hope and encouragement, and are supported and included. She wants to see an end to the discrimination against people with dementia, to see compassionate care of people with dementia at all stages, and to see real efforts being made to find cures for the more than one hundred diseases that cause dementia.

Christine Bryden was a top civil servant and single mother of three children when she was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 46. ‘Dancing with Dementia’ is a vivid account of her experiences of living with dementia, exploring the effects of memory problems, loss of independence, difficulties in communication and the exhaustion of coping with simple tasks. It continues the story of her journey since diagnosis with dementia, meeting her husband Paul and embarking on a journey of advocacy for all those living with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia. She describes how, with the support of her husband Paul, she continues to lead an active life despite her dementia and explains how professionals and carers can help. The book is a thoughtful exploration of how dementia challenges our ideas of personal identity and of the process of self-discovery it can bring about. It has been translated into several languages.

Dancing with Dementia, Christine Bryden, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London,2005.

‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova. A well-written novel, an American account, a tear-jerking journey – now a major film and cd available

The film Still Alice features Julianne Moore named Best Actress for a Motion Picture in the drama category at the Golden Globes for her depiction a 50-year-old Columbia University professor, gifted lecturer and researcher, wife and mother of three grown up children, who is living with younger onset dementia.

Based on the book by Lisa Genova, if you would like see Still Alice trailer.

Criticism of film Still Alice

A new study suggests that a simple eye exam and retinal imaging test may help improve the diagnostic accuracy of frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), a disease which causes progressive damage to the temporal and/or frontal lobes of the brain.
Two books by Professor Steven Rose
21st Century Brain
‘The human brain is the most complex structure in the known universe. Learning how it works, the relationship between mind and brain, is one of the most fundamental and important of scientific questions and neurobiology one of the fastest growing research areas. New tools, from molecular genetics to the windows into the brain offered by imaging techniques, have transformed our understanding.
21st Century Brain

Brain researchers now claim to be able to explain the roots of human personality and behaviour, of language and even of consciousness itself. Coupled with claims of new knowledge come potential new powers, to cure devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s, to control behaviour through tailor-made drugs, to develop human-machine hybrids – cyborgs. But just how far have the neurosciences come in their claims to be able to understand mind and brain? How seriously should we take these new developments.’

The Future of the Brain

‘Brain repair, smart pills, mind-reading machines–modern neuroscience promises to deliver a remarkable array of wonders as well as profound insight into the nature of the brain. But these exciting new breakthroughs, warns Steven Rose, will also raise troubling questions about what it means to be human. In this book, Rose explores just how far neuroscience may help us understand the human brain–including consciousness–and to what extent cutting edge technologies should have the power to mend or manipulate the mind. He illuminates the potential threats and promises of new technologies and their ethical, legal, and social implications.’

Steven Rose 2009

“In Search of my Father” by Dr Helena Popovitc

Dementia is no match for a daughter’s determination

Two books by Norman Dodge The Brain’s Way of Healing Remarkable Discoveries
‘Norman Doidge described the most important breakthrough in our understanding of the brain in four hundred years: the discovery that the brain can change its own structure and function in response to mental experience—what we call neuroplasticity.

His revolutionary new book shows, for the first time, how the amazing process of neuroplastic healing really works.’

The Brain That Changes Itself

It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Arguably the most important breakthrough in neuroscience since scientists first sketched out the brain’s basic anatomy, this revolutionary discovery, called neuroplasticity, promises to overthrow the centuries-old notion that the brain is fixed and unchanging. The brain is not, as was thought, like a machine, or “hardwired” like a computer. Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with mental limitations, or what was thought to be incurable brain damage, but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature.

Norman Doidge, MD, a psychiatrist and researcher, set out to investigate neuroplasticity and met both the brilliant scientists championing it and the people whose lives they’ve transformed. The result is this book, a riveting collection of case histories detailing the astonishing progress of people whose conditions had long been dismissed as hopeless. We see a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, a woman labeled retarded who cured her deficits with brain exercises and now cures those of others, blind people learning to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, painful phantom limbs erased, stroke patients recovering their faculties, children with cerebral palsy learning to move more gracefully, entrenched depression and anxiety disappearing, and lifelong character traits altered. Doidge takes us into terrain that might seem fantastic.

We learn that our thoughts can switch our genes on and off, altering our brain anatomy. Scientists have developed machines that can follow these physical changes in order to read people’s thoughts, allowing the paralyzed to control computers and electronics just by thinking. We learn how people of average intelligence can, with brain exercises, improve their cognition and perception in order to become savant calculators, develop muscle strength, or learn to play a musical instrument, simply by imagining doing so. Using personal stories from the heart of this neuroplasticity revolution, Dr. Doidge explores the profound implications of the changing brain for understanding the mysteries of love, sexual attraction, taste, culture and education in an immensely moving, inspiring book that will permanently alter the way we look at human possibility and human nature.

Intellectual development is critical. Intermittent fasting also helps keep you sharp.
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
The Art and Science of remembering Everything
“Foer’s unlikely journey from chronically forgetful science journalist to U.S. Memory Champion frames a revelatory exploration of the vast, hidden impact of memory on every aspect of our lives.

On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they’ve forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.

Moonwalking with Einstein draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of memory, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human remembering. Under the tutelage of top “mental athletes,” he learns ancient techniques once employed by Cicero to memorize his speeches and by Medieval scholars to memorize entire books. Using methods that have been largely forgotten, Foer discovers that we can all dramatically improve our memories.

Immersing himself obsessively in a quirky subculture of competitive memorizers, Foer learns to apply techniques that call on imagination as much as determination–showing that memorization can be anything but rote. From the PAO system, which converts numbers into lurid images, to the memory palace, in which memories are stored in the rooms of imaginary structures, Foer’s experience shows that the World Memory Championships are less a test of memory than of perseverance and creativity.

Foer takes his inquiry well beyond the arena of mental athletes-across the country and deep into his own mind. In San Diego, he meets an affable old man with one of the most severe case of amnesia on record, where he learns that memory is at once more elusive and more reliable than we might think. In Salt Lake City, he swaps secrets with a savant who claims to have memorized more than nine thousand books. At a high school in the South Bronx, he finds a history teacher using twenty- five-hundred-year-old memory techniques to give his students an edge in the state Regents exam.

At a time when electronic devices have all but rendered our individual memories obsolete, Foer’s bid to resurrect the forgotten art of remembering becomes an urgent quest. Moonwalking with Einstein brings Joshua Foer to the apex of the U.S. Memory Championship and readers to a profound appreciation of a gift we all possess but that too often slips our minds.”

The Brain Supremacy Notes from the frontiers of neuroscience by Kathleen Taylor Oxford 2012

Introduction DVD
How Dementia affects the Brain and the Person DVD.
Administration Officer – Hospitality | Alzheimer’s Australia Vic
155 Oak Street Parkville VIC 3052 p: +61 2 9815 7800 | f: +61 3 9816 5733 | e:< What are some nonmedical interventions to comfort Alzheimer's patients? Do not argue with or correct the person with dementia. No matter how strange, how far off base, how whacked out their statements are, do not argue or correct them. It absolutely doesn’t work in most cases, and can cause an escalating anxiety as you challenge the reality they are experiencing.

Time Love Memory A great biologist and his journey from genes to behavior by Jonathon WeinerSingle Enzyme Gains the Upper Hand in Two Types of Dementia

By Gary C. Howard, PhD / Gladstone News / January 12, 2017
Researchers in the laboratory of Steven Finkbeiner, PhD, discovered a single enzyme that regulates progranulin, a protein that may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes scored a rare two-for-one gain by discovering an enzyme that controls the levels of a protein implicated in both Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.
“For some time, we have known that low levels of the protein progranulin are associated with these two forms of dementia and that increasing levels improves deficit in animal models of the two diseases,” said Steven Finkbeiner, MD, PhD, a senior investigator at Gladstone. “But how could we use that as a possible therapy? That’s what is exciting about our latest results.”

In a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Finkbeiner’s team looked closely at progranulin, which is secreted from cells and controls inflammation. Having only one copy of the gene for progranulin causes frontotemporal dementia, the most common form of dementia in people under age 65, while having mutations in the progranulin gene is a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Both conditions result in lower levels of progranulin in the brain.

Many popular cures are in demand. Many giant corporations and our 1% rich make huge profits with many products for dementia but apart from in some people having an improved life with dementia no real cure.

Every week I see new reports. Don’t get me wrong more research is essential.

Within the dementia community, hope is high for a cure for Alzheimer’s. One example is from the Time Magazine. In Time February 6th 2017 linking good health to aiding Alzheimers and with summary of public information on the health of the heart. Ref higher education is good; Drugs and lifestyle factors the key.

Here’s What Happens to Your Brain When You Die

You might picture yourself walking through a field, or surrounded by loved ones. Or perhaps making your way down a long, dark tunnel, towards a brilliant, beckoning light. When the end comes, what you experience will be a veiled secret known only to you – but whatever it is, scientists say those closing moments of consciousness could be powered by something amazing and mysterious taking place inside your brain.

One key factor is long-term smoking increasing the risk and prevalence of dementia.

New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function.
Of the mice that received the treatment, 75 percent got their memory function back 18 MAR 2015
Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.

‘Souvenaid’ Research and anecdotal evidence this slows down the impact of Alzheimer’s. But not for all dementia, not for FTD.

Medicinal cannabis does not kill brain

Dementia Carers

Paintings and dementia

Psychologists believe they can identify progressive changes in work of artists who went on to develop Alzheimer’s disease
Ian Sample Science editor 29 December 2016

The first subtle hints of cognitive decline may reveal themselves in an artist’s brush strokes many years before dementia is diagnosed, researchers believe.

The controversial claim is made by psychologists who studied renowned artists, from the founder of French impressionism, Claude Monet, to the abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning.
While Monet aged without obvious mental decline, de Kooning was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease more than a decade before his death in 1997.

Strobe lighting provides a flicker of hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

Alex Forsythe at the University of Liverpool analysed more than 2,000 paintings from seven famous artists and found what she believes are progressive changes in the works of those who had cognitive decline.

“To me, the most inspiring message to come out of this work is that beautiful artworks can result from pathological conditions,” he said. When de Kooning was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, some critics argued that he should stop painting, but as he slipped into dementia, his artwork changed and became more simple, Taylor said.

“To me, these more simple works conveyed a peacefulness that wasn’t present in his nurture-dominated earlier work. It all goes to show that sometimes you can think too much about art. Sometimes you just need to tune into your inner self, the ‘nature’ part,” he said.

ABC Catalyst on Dementia

What happens when we die

Children tell dementia stories

Children of patients with C9orf72 mutations are at a greater risk of frontotemporal dementia or ALS at a younger age

What are the stages of frontotemporal dementia?

Frontal temporal dementia support long FTD, behavioral strengths – reserve right to call a fascist pig a; …quantity and dis-inhibitionism;

FTD is costly

Inflammatory pathways link to obsessive behaviors in a common form of dementia

26 January – or thereabouts Mon, 23 Jan 2017 23:44:59 +0000 26 January – or thereabouts
Australia Day debate by Historian Humphrey McQueen
Vox Pop illustrates that the most enthusiastic celebrants of Australia Day do not always know what happened on 26 January 1788 in Sydney Cove. Some think their holiday has to do with Captain Cook who had sailed past Sydney Harbour eighteen years earlier. Others run the event together with the creation of the Commonwealth from 1901 or wrap their flag patriotism around references to Gallipoli.

We should sympathise with these people. First, they either have been taught no history of this country or they have been told about it in ways that would make Abetz sound scintillating. Secondly, and more significantly, what is being commemorated is hardly memorable: the day on which Captain Arthur Phillip, ran up a flag at Britain’s newest trading post and naval refitting station. Compare that piddling performance with even the skirmish at Eureka and it is hardly surprising that Australians have trouble fixing on the actualities of 26 January.

The formal Proclamation of the Colony of New South Wales by Judge-Advocate David Collins did not take place until 7 February. At no point did he claim the east coast for King and Empire; Cook had done that on 22 August 1770 in a couple of lines in his journal – which read almost like an act of absent mindedness. (Eight days earlier he had misspelt Australia as ‘Astralia’.)

Britain’s need to re-assert Cook’s claim against rival Mercantilist Empires took shape on 28 January when two French ships entered Botany Bay under the command of Jean-Francoise de la Perouse, who sailed away on March 10, never to be seen again.

None of this would not matter much were we talking about Wattle Day. Australia Day has become a flash point for political attitudes since the Bi-Centennial in 1988. At the time, the Left joined with indigenous Australians in protest. That commitment persists, though the Left has shrunk to grouplets while the indigenous movement has lost much of its militancy. The non-indigenous dissenters are reduced to ritual denunciation. The indigenes continue to pivot between the victimhood of ‘Invasion Day’ and the fight-back expressed in ‘Survival Day’. Nonetheless, neither of those descriptors so much as hints at the wars indigenes waged for country from their side of the frontiers.

We un-settler Australians can limp on in this fashion, or we can develop new ways to make Australia Day into one more site for conflict about the import of human activities here.
At present, reducing Australia Day to protests against what happened to the indigenous minority leaves us with no way of engaging with 97 percent of the population. Of course, there are Leftists who revel in that situation, concerned only to assert their moral superiority with their version of the Pharisees’ prayer: ‘Thank you god for not making me like other Australians – a racist’. Such unctuousness is an obstacle to changing attitudes. What we need is a challenge to the ways in which Australia Day is being marketed. In short, we need a red-armband history about the day itself, and then a proletarian perspective on what preceded and followed.

Now that’s a fact
A touch of pedantry won’t go astray. January 26 was not the day that the First Fleet landed. That had happened seven days earlier after the first of the ships entered Botany Bay, when the Eora, brandishing spears, had cried ‘Walla, Walla, Walla’.

For his part, Phillip would do all he could to fulfill that part of his instructions that enjoined him
to endeavor by every possible means to open an intercourse with the natives, and to conciliate their affections, enjoining all our subjects to live in amity and kindness with them. And if any of our subjects shall wantonly destroy them or give them any unnecessary interruption in the exercise of their several occupations it is our will and pleasure that you cause such offenders to be brought to punishment according to the degree of the offence.

These sentiments were incompatible with prolonged intrusion. That London re-issued them to every new governor in the several colonies is incompatible with recent allegations that the invasion occurred in accord with terra nullius, a doctrine which formed in the late nineteenth century around the status of the polar regions. That the High Court accepted terra nullius in Mabo confirms the long-standing legal doctrine of Judicial Ignorance.

Finding Botany Bay too dry, Phillip sailed north on the 21st to come upon one of the finest harbours in the world. He returned on the 25th while the remainder of the fleet arrived on the 26th. Officers and marines landed. The officials drank four toasts and gave themselves three cheers after hoisting the Union Jack. (That flag would not include the red diagonal cross of St Patrick until after the slaughter of 30,000 Irish during the ’98 Rebellion led to the 1801 Act of Union.)

The male convicts were landed over the next two days and set to work erecting the pre-fabricated government house while they sought shelter beneath the palms. Those labours were the first proof that the convicts were not being dumped but used to add more value than went into the reproduction of their labour. The Navy took over the trade had had seen 40,000 convicts sold to North American and West Indian Masters in the sixty years before 1776.

The females came ashore on 6th February. That night, a storm broke over scenes of debauchery. Those who stole food were flogged the following morning; then, on 27th, one thief was hanged for this offence. On the following Sunday, the Rev. Richard Johnson took as his text: ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?’

Again, and this time under southern skies, we see the inequalities and injustices that had created the conditions that had led many of the convicts to end up in an open-air prison. The more we learn about those first days ashore, the better able we are to contest the comforting view of the planting of British civilisation. Its agents began as they have gone, maintaining a social order divided between the floggers and the flogged, Masters and Servants, corporates and wage-slaves.

As one instance, the land grabbing N.S.W. Rum Corps celebrated the twentieth anniversary in 1808 by overthrowing Governor Bligh, an act of rebellion against the Crown. Repeating that act against the current crop of land grabbers in the mining corporates is a move worth trying any day of the year.
The progressive professor at the University of Sydney, G. Arnold Wood, observed in 1922 that, while the petty thieves were transported, the great criminals remained to govern the empire. True enough, but Britain’s elites had crooks to spare to oversee the pillaging of its colonies.

Australia: a Wog word
To balance the northern continents, Ptolemy had imagined Terra Australis Incognita, the unknown South Land, Austral being Latin for south. The phrase next appears in 1606 when the Spaniard de Quiros sailed into the New Hebrides, to name what he assumed to be a continent as Austrialia del Espiritu Santo. No, that Austrialia is not another spelling mistake. De Quiros is supposed to have altered Austral-is to Austria-lia in honour of the Austrian monarchy which claimed the Spanish Throne.
After Matthew Flinders had circumnavigated the continent in 1801-3, he preferred ‘Australia’ but stuck with Terra Australis as inoffensive to the Dutch designation of New Holland, Nova Hollandia, which, incidentally, they had recycled from the name they had given in the 1600s to their possessions in the West Indies. ‘New Holland’ was losing out to ‘New South Wales’ even before Governor Macquarie promoted the name ‘Australia’ from 1817.

‘Invasion’ Day
The next step in this reclaiming the history of our struggles is to examine the place of the term ‘invasion’ in how the history has been told. There is nothing new or ‘politically corrected’ in this term.

In 1938, on the sesqui-centenary of Phillip’s second landing, the Aboriginal Advancement League protested against the re-enactment on what they called ‘Invasion Day’. That the Aborigines promoted their cause in a monthly paper which they called Abo Call is another reminder that words come and go in regard to their social acceptability. Who dares say ‘Abo’ now?

Since the Bicentennial, the language of ‘invasion’ has been ridiculed, as if it were an invention of Marxists. ‘Invasion’ was the word that the small-l liberal (Sir) Keith Hancock used in his 1930 Australia, long the most influential short history of Australia. The right-wing Sir Archie Grenfell Price did the same in 1949 for his survey of North America and Australasia, White Settlers and Native Peoples. This extract gives the view then common among conservatives:

During an opening period of pioneer invasion on moving frontiers the white decimated the natives with their diseases; occupied their lands by seizure or by pseudo-purchase; slaughtered those who resisted; intensified tribal warfare by supplying white weapons; ridiculed and disrupted native religions, society and culture,
This academic convention of using ‘invasion’ did not stop Queensland A.L.P. premier Goss from censoring the term from the school curriculum, which was just one of the Goss-Rudd policies that perpetuated the legacy of Bjelke-Peterson.

The convict stain
Van Diemen’s Land changed its name to Tasmania in November 1855 in the vain hope of wiping the slate clean of the blood of both Palawa and convicts. By the 1950s, Tasmania had made it an offence to libel the dead by referring to their records as convicts. Some self-righteous descendants tore pages out of convict registers – only to discover that copies survived in England.
During the build up to the 1888 centenary, Melbourne papers poked fun at New South Wales when its premier Henry Parkes wanted to rename his colony as Australia, suggesting instead that it become Convictoria. The Bulletin loathed the idea of celebrating the centenary in 1888.
The belief that criminality could be inherited was pretty well universal; indeed, it was supposed that it could be suckled by the infants of free settlers from the breast of a convict wet nurse. Boosters therefore rejoiced that the blood of the Anzacs was washing away the stain of convict origins.
Victoria and South Australia commemorated their 100th as free colonies in 1934 and 1936 respectively and did not care to be associated with old lags. Yarraside pretended to be freer than free by promoting the land thief John Batman rather than the ex-convict John Pascoe Fawkner as its founder. Finding a convict ancestor did not became fashionable until around the Cook Bi-Centenary, subsequently cemented by the fad for family history.
Then came the 1938 sesqui-centenary which landed Sydney officialdom with the task of air-brushing the convicts out of the Commemorations. In response, the radical writers Miles Franklin and Dymphna Cusack collaborated on a novel, Pioneers on Parade, which mocked an old family for concealing its convict founder. It could have been modeled on the Wentworths.
That year, the Communist Party promoted a contrary vision, beginning from Lenin’s birthday on 17 January and concluding with May Day marches.

Naming the day
The name given to 26 January has been the site for several kinds of social conflict. Sydney celebrated Regatta Day from 1828. Before the fiftieth anniversary ten years later, self-styed Whig patriots gathered in Sydney hotels to push for a local parliament. On the other side were the Tory Exclusivists, born free of the convict taint.

As the Golden Jubilee of 1838 approached, the ‘patriots’ split between those who prided themselves on being native-born and those from anywhere else – a folly perpetuated with the foundation of the Australian Native’s Association in 1871. ‘Anniversary’ Day became some kind of public holiday that year and 26 January bore that tag into the 1950s.

At the same time, van Demonians asserted their identity by setting up Regatta Day on 2 December – the date on which Abel Tasman had anchored off shore in 1642. To confirm that all time-honoured traditions are no more than movable feasts, Regatta Day is now in February.

In South Australia, Proclamation Day falls on 28 December and is never likely to attract a crowd beyond those holiday-makers who had taken refuge at Glenelg. Western Australia now has as its ‘Day’ in July.

Enter a new twist to the battle of names. In the wake of the Britain’s genocidal war against Boer women and children, the Federal authorities in 1903 proclaimed 24 May to be Empire Day. That moniker disappeared with the Empire during the 1950s when it morphed into British Commonwealth Day only to be taken over in 1966 by the Queen’s Birthday around the current monarch’s official delivery in June, except in the West where she was not pop out until September.

Although Irish Catholics had always rallied for St Patrick’s Day on 17 March, during the renewed battle for Home Rule in 1911, those adherents of the Roman superstition – ‘under the auspices of Our Lady Help of Christians’ – took to referring to 24 May as ‘Australia Day’, flying the Red Ensign and St Patrick’s Cross over St Mary’s Cathedral in a further display of Pat-Riotism.

The Empire struck back in 1915 when the Red Cross designated 30 July 1915 as ‘Australia Day’ to raise comfort funds for the ANZACS, repeating the exercise next year. The Bulletin, despite being pro-war and pro-conscription, was sickened at the thought of the committee members’ purring ‘over the cream-puff at Government House.’

Just before 26 January 1932, the Lang Labor government in New South Wales, as part of its disinclination to enrich British bondholders at the expense of Australia’s unemployed, changed the name of the 26th from ‘Anniversary’ to ‘Australia Day’. Later that year, the Prime Minister and Labor rat Joe Lyons, yet another Irish-Roman, put his timid voice behind ‘Australia’ for the Day.

If not that date, when?

If we decide we can’t get by without some one day of the year, let’s make sure that the choice celebrates something which we did for ourselves and not something that was done to us.

Prime possibilities are the diggers round Ballarat taking the Eureka Oath on November 29: ‘We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other, and fight to defend our rights and liberties.’

Others are the defeats of the two conscription plebiscites in 1916 and 1917 and of the referendum to ban the Communist Party in 1951. All four will be annual celebrations in a socialist republic.
The choice has to be towards the lives of everyday Australians and not an occasion for another bout of trumpery from bunyip aristocrats. Moreover, a people’s day will value the joys of life, not killing and being killed.

The day should retain one element from the decades during which the holiday in late January was always a long weekend. Come to think of it, we could revive the victories that cut the length of the working day to eight hours by making every weekend a long one for a 32-hour week.

There is much more to 26 January than the start of an invasion which took 160 years to complete. Before the Fleet set sail, its occupants had been divided between the 1 percent and the 99 percent, as civilisation had been for thousands of years. As with the British enclosures and clearances, the invasion initiated a dispossession which turned its survivors into wage-slaves.

When the Aborigines Progressive Association, which had organised the 1938 protests against ‘Invasion Day’, reformed in 1963, its leaders reasoned: ‘Aborigines are a working-class people and it is only natural that we appeal to our fellow workers in the trade unions to support us in our struggle for justice and equality.’

We have seen how January 26 has much to do with class warfare among the un-settlers as well as with race. Only by campaigning on both aspects will it be possible to enlist the great majority of Australians in the struggles to put an end to capitalism which exploits and despoils as it oppresses.

Humphrey McQueen, 19 January 2017

Authorised by the never-died collective