Episode 209 – Iran, China, the Morrison Theocracy and Falou 101

A planned brief discussion over Iran morphed into a heated discussion over Iran and China and nuclear weapons. We then get back on track with discussions over the budding Morrison Theocracy, Tax, Christopher Pyne, Accounting firms, Falou and Deep Throat.

4:43 Secular Drinks

It was a big success.

It’s not surprising as Beer stabilizes society and  keeps ‘people together’

Join us next time.

6:28 Iran

The Brisbane Times, our left-wing newspaper, spreads BS as fact.

Osaka: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed Donald Trump in taking a harder line against Iran in an escalating dispute over its nuclear program after the US President came close to launching a retaliatory strike against the country last week.

Mr Morrison said the federal government would throw its support behind Mr Trump’s effort to force the country to the negotiating table as experts predict it will breach its agreed cap on low-enriched uranium within days.

Mr Morrison warned that it was “very premature” to canvass the ways Australia might back the Trump administration in the Middle East but he did not rule out options in the wake of the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and Iran’s decision to shoot down a US drone aircraft.

From Wikipedia

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union.

In July 2015 Iran and the P5+1 confirmed agreement on the plan along with the “Roadmap Agreement” between Iran and the IAEA.

Under JCPOA, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks.

To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related sanctions.

IAEA inspectors spend 3,000 calendar days per year in Iran, installing tamper-proof seals and collecting surveillance camera photos, measurement data and documents for further analysis. IAEA Director Yukiya Amano stated (in March 2018) that the organization has verified that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments.

On 8 May 2018 President Trump announced United States withdrawal from JCPOA.

Following the U.S.’s withdrawal, the EU enacted an updated blocking statute on 7 August 2018 to nullify US sanctions on countries trading with Iran. In November 2018 U.S. sanctions came back into effect intended to force Iran to dramatically alter its policies, including its support for militant groups in the region and its development of ballistic missiles.

In May 2019 the IAEA certified that Iran was abiding by the main terms of the deal, though questions were raised about how many advanced centrifuges Iran was allowed to have, as that was only loosely defined in the deal.

Our China discussion with Han Tu was episode 134

42:51 Morrison Opens Parliament

From The Shovel:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has opened the 46th Parliament with a moving speech that paid respects to his party’s traditional owners.

“I’d like to begin by paying my respects to coal lobbyists, the traditional owners of the party for which I stand,” Mr Morrison said.

“We acknowledge coal lobbyists present, past and emerging.

“We recognise their continuing connection to the land, particularly the land that contains large deposits of fossil fuels.

“And we note their vibrant and rich history. Very rich in some cases”.

Plots and Prayers

Looks like an interesting and depressing read.

Audio from aura Tingle on LNL

One of the first two cabinet ministers to quit Parliament after last year’s Liberal leadership coup described Prime Minister Scott Morrison as an “absolute arsehole,” an explosive new book claims.

Michael Keenan, who served as justice minister when Scott Morrison was immigration minister, made the comments to colleagues at a lunch at the Garum Restaurant in Perth in April 2018, just months before Mr Morrison became leader.

The book also reveals that Mr Morrison and his fellow Pentecostal and close friend and numbers man Stuart Robert, prayed that “righteousness would exalt the nation,” in the minutes before Mr Morrison was made prime minister by the Liberal party room.

47:28 Morrison Mates have one thing in common

Scott Morrison’s inner circle is a group linked by faith and friendship – and now, the front bench.

Audio from the 7AM podcast.

51:03 Albanese facing growing unrest over Coalition’s tax package

The Government’s plans include the following for phases two and three (from Treasury):

“For 2022–23 and 2023–24, the top threshold of
the 19% tax bracket will increase from $37,000 to $41,000
the 32.5% bracket will increase from $90,000 to $120,000.

For 2024–25 income year onward, the top threshold of the 32.5% tax bracket will increase from $120,000 to $200,000.”

This represents an effective ‘flattening’ of the tax scales ; with higher income individuals on effectively lower rates of tax.

It will also cost the Budget $160 billion over 10 years. This when we’re likely heading for a recession. It will fuel austerity. Especially if the government prioritises the surplus even in time of economic downturn.

Finally: remember that the median wage in Australia is only approx $53,000/year. The Conservatives talk about people on $120,000/year as if they’re ‘battlers’. If we don’t stand up and fight only the Conservatives will eventually win with their long term agenda of a flat income tax.

They also want to legislate ahead for the next term of government which is totally unreasonable.

Maybe Labor should allow them and let the Libs suffer the consequences. If they vote against the tax cuts Frydenberg may get his surplus.

Labor MP Peter Khalil on Thursday called on Labor to support the three-stage, 10-year package if the government refused to split it, less than two weeks before the Labor caucus is due to formally declare its position on the issue.

Mr Khalil’s comments to the Herald Sun were backed by a senior Labor frontbencher, who said they “agreed” it was best to pass the package both to take it off the agenda and because voters supported it at last month’s federal election.

But we prefer this message:

We don’t need to capitulate on progressive policy. Labor needs a strategy to nullify the fear and disinformation campaigns. Capitulation is not a strategy.

56:45 Hardbottom on Tax

57:15 Christopher Pyne joins E&Y

From the Michael West blog.

I wonder what will happen to EY fees?

From the ABC

“I am looking forward to providing strategic advice to EY, as the firm looks to expand its footprint in the defence industry,” Mr Pyne said in a statement.

But Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick has called on the Prime Minister to reprimand Mr Pyne for taking the position, which he argues breaches the Statement of Ministerial Standards.

It states that for 18 months after they leave office, former ministers “will not lobby, advocate or have business meetings with members of the Government … on any matters on which they have had official dealings as minister”.

Professor John Wanna of Australia National University told AM large business consultancies were targeting government defence spending as a source of revenue growth.

“Defence is the largest Commonwealth procurement program and so this is where there is ample amounts of money, it is multi-year money,” he said.

But he added the Statement of Ministerial Standards was difficult to enforce properly.

“Though the wording is that they can’t lobby and they can’t divulge information, nothing stops them from working with others, in this case Ernst and Young, to advise them on what they should be saying when they go and lobby.”

From Crikey

If you’re wondering what kind of services the big four provide to defence, it’s everything short of guns and tanks. Apart from a myriad of generic “defence support services” and “professional services” contracts, E&Y was given a $17 million contract for “organisational change management partner services”. PWC is getting $14 million to oversee Defence’s major intelligence and surveillance data integration project — not actually provide the services itself — that’s Leidos — but just run the office that manages it. PWC is getting a couple of million for “business intelligence consulting”. The contracts are plentiful and in defence, come with an extra zero on the end compared to normal public service contracts.

Defence in Australia — as in the US, where the problem is even more egregious — is particularly prone to the revolving door phenomenon of former politicians and officials leaving a public sector job one day and putting their feet under the desk in a private sector job the next. Beyond that, many big four staff work in a twilight world where they are private sector employees who spend long periods working with public servants and, in Defence, uniformed staff.

The almost seamless links between the public and private sectors here isn’t merely a kind of flaw in governance around public sector officials, elected and otherwise — it’s a design feature of contemporary capitalism. In an influential 2017 paper, economist Luigi Zingales explained how large corporations had developed, and continued to expand, a power to achieve favourable outcomes from government by offering jobs in the future: “a company’s ability to obtain what it wants from the political system is highly dependent upon: 1) its ability to make credible long-term promises (for example, future employment opportunities for politicians and regulators)…”

Ministers and senior bureaucrats serve in their portfolios conscious that a lucrative post-political career awaits them in the sectors they are overseeing.

The big four firms have an advantage even over most other large corporations such as the major defence contractors they rub shoulders with in Defence: they are now, across the Commonwealth, deeply embedded in the public sector: they not merely have a rich understanding of how government works, in many cases they are how government works. In an important sense, employing a former minister is simply an organic extension of our economic-governmental system c.2019.

1:02:13 Falou

Scott has a rant.

Did Go Fund Me de-platform?

More thought experiments – what if he dissed Qantas or Nike?

1:15:05 It’s all about Employment law. So what are his chances?

From Katrina Kelly in The Australian

I have been involved in the employment relations area for more than 25 years. I have worked for three unions and multiple employers, and started several businesses. I know the unfair dismissal system intimately.

Seven years ago, I founded a specialist business that acted for unfairly dismissed employees, and also helped employers dismiss people fairly and according to the law. That business is no longer mine but it has gone on to become the largest unfair dismissal business in the country. Those are my credentials and they inform my commentary.

There is an application brought under the Fair Work Act — the cost of which, in ordinary circumstances, should be less than $20,000.

The act says that employers must not dismiss employees unlawfully, defined as for their race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s ­responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin

In two or three years, when the matter gets to court — it will take that long to get a hearing — the judge will not consider any issues of free speech or freedom of ­religion. The judge simply will decide whether the applicant was sacked (a) because he is a Christian and his employer discriminated against him because of his religion, or (b) for some other ­reason.

Please note that an employer can legally dismiss any employee who fails to comply with a lawful and reasonable instruction, and these do not have to be in writing. In addition, there are other Christians remaining in the workplace.

Further, in every unlawful dismissal case I have ever run, we have been asked for “incontrovertible proof” that the dismissal occurred for an unlawful reason and not some other reason.

Here are two recent examples of successful unlawful dismissal cases where the applicant had incontrovertible proof:

• A young woman with an employment separation certificate filled out by the employer, where the reason given for dismissal was “she’s pregnant”.

• A man with a letter of dismissal that stated, “since your epileptic fit occurred in the office, people do not feel comfortable and we cannot keep you on”.

1:18:30 Falou in a nutshell

  1. The right to hold a belief is different from the right to manifest a belief. See Article 18 of the ICCPR.
  2. Religious belief is just an ideology. It relies on ideological content and therefore ranks lower than innate characteristics. Why not protect all ideologies?
  3. Falou is not being sanctioned by the Government. He is not charged with a crime.
  4. His case is about employment law.
  5. Generally, as a matter of public policy, we don’t want employers to unfairly discriminate against people.
  6. It would be very rare that innate characteristics could be fairly discriminated against. But it is possible esp re gender. A female doctor or masseuse for a female sporting team.  There has to be a good reason.
  7. It would be more likely that ideological differences give rise to fair discrimination. Sometimes the nature of the job requires a certain belief or conduct. I could not be head of PR for the Catholic Church. A celebrity anti-vaxxer couldn’t be the head of an immunisation clinic.
  8. Falou chose a job with the advantage of high income but the disadvantage of conduct requirements. Those conduct requirements were necessary for the national team but not for park rugby.
  9. Falou’s rights need to be distinguished from a gay math teacher at a religious private school. What is the difference?
  10. Go Fund Me and Cake shops. What is the difference? Go Fund Me can choose how to structure their business and what services to offer. If they set up a policy of refusing cases that support intolerance then they must apply that policy to everyone to be ok.

1:26:10 Deep Throat on The Lord’s Prayer

Among his many talents is expertise in old English.

Hi Trevor
I have been involved in Living History for 15 years with my areas of interest being the reign of Henry II (1154 to 1189) and 12th century shoe-making. Over the last five years I have also been studying Early Middle English because as the quote goes “Language is the roadmap of a culture”.
Your listeners may be interested that Old English covers the period up to 1100 and Middle English is from 1100 through to Chaucer around 1500. Early Middle English is the English language just before many pesky French words became established in it.
Also, I would like to plug the 30th year of the Abbey Medieval Festival coming up on 13th and 14th of July in Caboolture just north of Brisbane. It is the largest, most authentic medieval festival in the southern hemisphere. If any of the dear listeners do attend tell them not to miss the star attraction: the medieval shoemaker extraordinaire.
wes þū hāl mīn frēnd
Craig

1:29:10 Alison Courtice in The Courier Mail and on A Current Affair

Good on you Alison

1:30:25  New Patrons

Glen and Craig S and Corinne

 

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