Episode 243 – Frank Jordan

In this episode, we speak to Frank Jordan about his campaign to become the next Lord Mayor of Brisbane.

Frank Jordan

Candidate for Lord Mayor of Brisbane.

Coronavirus and the Economy

After the 2019 election, we did say that it might have been a good election to lose.

Captain Doomsday

As a conspiracy nut who lives in a bunker I do keep my ears open for signs of the apocalypse. I fear that the End may be nigh given last night’s news:

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-05/toilet-paper-truck-catches-fire-brisbane/12027262?pfmredir=sm

Coronavirus and religious nonsense

The coronavirus crisis has engulfed one of the Catholic Church’s most sacred rites: holy communion at mass.

The Catholic Church in Australia has urged restrictions on the way holy communion is given and received at mass, saying parishes should stop distributing wine from the chalice and hand communion wafers to parishioners rather than place it on their tongue.

Holy water will be removed from stoops at church entrances to reduce transmission of the virus.

ROME (CNS) — As the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Europe continued to grow, the French Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes announced that pilgrims were still welcome, but the pools the sick bathe in hoping for healing would be closed temporarily.

“Our first concern will always be the safety and health of the pilgrims and the shrine’s working community,” said a note posted Feb. 28 on the shrine’s website. “As a precaution, the pools have been closed until further notice.”

Coronavirus – Business call for tax cuts

Sounds like the shock doctrine in practice again.

By Alan Macleod

As coronavirus panic hits the U.S., a financial lobbying group is attempting to use the crisis to push through the deregulation of its industry. The Bank Policy Institute (BPI), a Washington-based lobbying organization representing many of the nation’s largest banks, released a set of proposals this week, the most important of which recommends that the Federal Reserve lower capital requirements to zero. This would mean banks could lend an unlimited amount without having any assets or wealth to back it up. It also advocated relaxing the so-called “stress tests” that force banks to show that they can withstand economic shocks. This, it claims, would help America fight the COVID-19 virus. The report’s lead author was BPI CEO Greg Baer, former Managing Director of JP Morgan Chase.

These efforts perfectly encapsulate the idea of the “Shock Doctrine” that author Naomi Klein laid out in her 2007 book of the same name. Klein argued that the wealthy elite use the confusion caused by economic and other disasters to quickly force through pro-free-market legislation that would otherwise meet with widespread and coordinated opposition. As she said, “the idea of exploiting crisis and disaster has been the modus operandi of [economist] Milton Friedman’s movement from the very beginning – this fundamentalist form of capitalism has always needed disasters to advance.”

From The Australian

Prominent businessman Tony Shepherd said tax relief and investment incentives should be on the table “for all businesses” , along with a pause in new red tape. “As it is, private investment was at a long-term low before the crises hit,” he said.

“A holiday from new business regulation at all levels of government would inspire confidence. A wind back would be nirvana.”

He said tax relief would be “essential” for those on lower incomes. “Perhaps they could have a holiday from compulsory superannuation, giving them a well-needed 9 per cent pay hike at zero cost to the budget,’’ he said.

Mr Shepherd, who conducted a commission of audit into federal finances for the Abbott government , also said regional assistance should be focused on bushfire and drought relief.

Oil Prices

Putin just sparked an oil price war with Saudi Arabia — and US energy companies may be the victims.

  • Russia rejected a proposal by OPEC to cut 1.5 million barrels per day of production.
  • In response, Saudi Arabia not only cut its forward crude price to Chinese customers by as much as $6 or $7 per barrel, but is also reportedly looking to raise its daily crude output by as many as 2 million barrels.
  • The move by the Saudis is both a market share grab and a loud signal to Moscow that it’s done playing games.
  • American oil and gas workers and investors are caught in the middle of this epic ego battle.

The industry is facing a three-sided attack: falling prices, a move of institutional investors to divest from fossil fuel companies, and crushing debt loads.

Debt is the problem. The U.S. oil and gas industry has about $86 billion of rated debt due in the next four years, according to Moody’s.  Nearly all of that debt is either junk rated, or rated just above junk. Fifty-seven percent of that is due in just the next two years.  As oil prices fall and credit markets tighten, many companies won’t be able to refinance their debts or extend maturities.

As gas prices fall, you will no doubt hear the “lower gas prices will rescue the consumer” angle.  While there is a benefit to Americans saving on gasoline, it’s unlikely any amount of additional consumer savings will mitigate the damage of an entire industry facing mass layoffs and huge capital spending cuts.

Stimulus

‘Never felt this unsafe’: Muslim community pleads for more protection in religious discrimination bill

From the SMH

Attorney-General Christian Porter is “carefully considering” a plea from Australia’s Muslims for more protection in new religious discrimination laws, as the community warns it has “never felt this unsafe” as the first anniversary of the Christchurch mosque massacre approaches.

In a submission on the second draft of the bill, more than 160 Muslim organisations renewed their calls for anti-vilification measures to be included in the religious discrimination bill, arguing anti-Muslim hate networks are growing online, “thanks to an environment of legal uncertainty”.

… Meanwhile, federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison urging him to hold a national multi-faith service on March 15, the anniversary of the Christchurch attack, to bring Australians together “to remember and reflect” and show “that we stand united against hate-filled attacks that seem to divide us”.

Commissioner eyes aggressive cut to crime rate

POLICE Commissioner Katarina Carroll has set an ambitious target to reduce the crime rate by 5 per cent, which she says is achievable under a major restructure.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Ms Carroll plans to reach her aspirational target by focusing on demand and preventative measures and by officers focusing on crimes that threaten public safety such as stolen cars, break-ins and assaults.

Terra Nullius

A brief review of terra nullius and Mabo

The High Court Decision of Love v The Commonwealth

Home Affairs is examining the claims of 23 immigration detainees who say they should be ­released on the grounds that they are indigenous Australians, following a landmark High Court ­decision that ruled Aboriginal people cannot be deported.

“That spans all possible indications of indigeneity, not those that might ultimately meet the threshold,” she said. “The bulk of those, we already had information about prior to the (High Court) decision. There has been a smaller number who have self-identified since the decision.”

 

Love v Commonwealth of Australia Thoms v Commonwealth of Australia [2020] HCA 3 Date of Hearing: 8 May 2019 & 5 December 2019 Date of Judgment: 11 February 2020

I like the CJ reasons.

KIEFEL CJ. These two special cases raise questions concerning s 51(xix) of the Constitution, which provides that the Commonwealth Parliament has power to make laws “for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to: … naturalization and aliens”. The plaintiffs argue that the power should be read so as not to apply to a person who is not a citizen of Australia, who is a citizen of a foreign country and is not naturalised as an Australian citizen, but who is an Aboriginal person. That is to say, the plaintiffs contend that s 51(xix) is subject to an unexpressed limitation or exception.

They contend that they are outside the purview of those statutes and s 51(xix) because they have a special status as a “non-citizen, non-alien”. They say that they have that status because although they are non-citizens they cannot be aliens because they are Aboriginal persons. Mr Thoms identifies, and is accepted by other Gunggari People, as a member of the Gunggari People. He is a common law holder of native title which has been recognised by determinations made by the Federal Court of Australia4

Following Federation it was open to the Commonwealth Parliament to choose one or more of the common law approaches, or variations of them, so long as what was chosen could be said truly to answer the description of “alien” 12. In Pochi v Macphee13, Gibbs CJ acknowledged that, necessarily, there must be a limit to Parliament’s powers to determine who comes within the definition of an “alien”. The limit to which his Honour referred was that Parliament could not expand the power under s 51(xix) by defining as aliens persons who could not possibly answer the description of an “alien” in the ordinary understanding of that word. No question of that kind14 arises in these special cases. The plaintiffs do not suggest that the criteria stated in the Citizenship Act are beyond the power of the Parliament. Rather, they argue that neither that statute nor s 51(xix) applies to a person who is a non-citizen, a citizen of a foreign country and an Aboriginal person.

The plaintiffs’ submissions have been subject to extensive elaboration. Their essential contention is that it may be seen by reference to Mabo [No 2] and following cases that the common law of Australia recognises the unique connection which Aboriginal people have with land and waters in Australia. The plaintiffs contend that that connection is so strong that the common law must be taken to have recognised that Aboriginal persons “belong” to the land. This recognition is inconsistent with the treatment of Aboriginal persons as strangers or foreigners to Australia. The status of alien provided for in s 51(xix) therefore cannot be applied to them, it is submitted.

Closer to the heart of the plaintiffs’ case is the erroneous assumption that the connection to land necessary for recognition by the common law of native title may be used in an entirely different area of the law, to answer questions of a constitutional kind about the relationship between an Aboriginal group and its members and the Australian body politic. Its use for such a purpose is wrong as a matter of law and of logic. The error is compounded by the fact that race is irrelevant to the questions of citizenship and membership of the Australian body politic.

… They contend that, by accepting traditional laws and customs as the foundation for native title, the common law must be taken to accept that a decision made pursuant to them as to membership of the group has some recognised legal effect, including with respect to questions of alienage.

These arguments are based upon a wrong premise. It is not the traditional laws and customs which are recognised by the common law. It is native title (namely, the interests and rights possessed under the traditional laws and customs50) which is the subject of recognition by the common law, and to which the common law will give effect. The common law cannot be said by extension to accept or recognise traditional laws and customs as having force or effect in Australia. They are not part of the domestic law. To suggest that traditional laws may be determinative of the legal status of a person in relation to the Australian polity is to attribute sovereignty to Aboriginal groups contrary to Mabo [No 2] and later cases, as has earlier been explained.

The common law’s concern with respect to traditional laws and customs is as to the evidence they may furnish of the requisite connection to land and waters and no more.

In reality the plaintiffs’ arguments do not rest upon existing common law principle. They are far removed from what was said in Mabo [No 2] and later native title cases. The plaintiffs must contend for the application of a new principle. This new principle cannot be said to be a development of the common law. If it were, the plaintiffs would have to explain how it could be applied in the face of the terms of s 51(xix), given that the common law cannot be developed inconsistently with the Constitution58 .

Pell Case

The Love case shows anything is possible with the Pell case.


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