Tag Archives: Chris Bowen

Changing topics?

It is Tuesday evening, I had been preparing some of my assignments when the two hour bell rang, it was time for a break. I am still ahead of what is needed, which means I can relax (only a little). For 4 weeks I have been doing my daily Uni work, so there is a moment to breath. This is good for now, so what to look at?

Well, I could take you down the road of a copyright driven Australia, yet, when we look at the facts, especially as presented by Brendan Molloy, councillor of Pirate Bay Australia, then a moment of depression hits me. We all speak in truths (or so I hope) and as such, so does he. I do not completely agree with his approach, but he makes a decent case. There are a few tweets he made as @piecritic that have reverberated in my own writings in the past.

  1. Brandis is known to have not met with any consumer representatives and stakeholders as part of writing this draft. #copyrightau“, which seem to give slightly more weight to the issues I posted on my blog on June 17th 2014 called ‘The real issue here!‘, when I wrote “This is at the centre of it all. From my point of view Mr Burke knows it, Mr Brandis knows it and Google, who has every profit with large broadband usage, knows it too. I think it is time for this sanctimonious posturing to stop” it was to state the issue that in the end this is NOT about copyright, this is about bandwidth and as such the Australian economy cannot survive another multi-BILLION dollar blow to it at present. I think that Attorney General Brandis DEFENITELY got spoken to (not speaking with) by certain stakeholders (off the record of course), yet these people do not want ANY visibility in the limelight at present.
  2. @piratepartyau made an FOI request for that data. They refused to release it. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/copyright_legislation_working_gr#incoming-2467 #copyrightau”, which seemed to link to “A question about data costs being absurdly high. Love it. #copyrightau“, this is an interesting side. In my previous blog and other events I focussed on the bandwidth, which is what an ISP should be able to monitor and as such they do not, or better, only monitor for billing purposes. This all takes another turn when we consider the tweet by Ed Husic, Federal MP for Chifley, Shadow ParlSec to @bowenchris. His Tweet is “Abbott Govt should tackle copyright, pricing, access simultaneously and not just @copyrightau 1st“.

Well first, to get it all straight, I am a Liberal, so basically in the Abbott, Hockey corner!

Yet, these people make a decent case. You see, I am not in favour of copyright infringement, so if we can stop illegal downloads then this is just fine with me (additional reasons to follow soon). The issue here is not just about copyright; it is in part the ludicrous idea of continuing the TPP. This is at the centre of strangling honest commerce in the near future. I am all for a better legal system that protects the owners of copyrighted articles that Burke represents, yet ‘the rants’ as Brendan mentioned gives way that he is angry because the ACTUAL profiteers are too strong and too powerful (read the ISP and large telecom companies). This is why we see these ‘packaged’ solutions by Optus lately, amongst others. They are trying to convert people to a package as they know that securing revenue now is becoming increasingly important to THEIR survival, this is not seen anywhere in clarity.

So prices are being partially dealt with and access is being transferred to the US via the TPP. If you consider that to be not true, then wonder why Microsoft is setting up 300,000 servers. Just for gaming? Please get a grip and be fast about it!

Consider the following, this was stated by developer Jonathan Blow, but he is not the only stating issues in this direction. “I can spin up 10,000 virtual servers per host. They would just all suck. Saying 300k when they are virtual is a lie“, this is a developer, my issue, since even BEFORE day one has been on the ridiculousness of certain claims. This has all to do with streaming media and entertainment. Microsoft introduced it, when the backlash came they changed tune and dance, so why is this continued? Because the change to a broadband Foxtel approach will FORCE people in the bandwidth and there is no more downloads (which I do not oppose), but there is also no more privacy, with which I have an issue. When you force consoles online for all the wrong reasons, then we can safely state that this is about monitoring”. As America was the land of the free, it is now quickly becoming the nation of the monitors, which is what a debt of trillions will get you. As stated before, i cannot understand the TPP for the life of me, it strangles digital freedom (actual freedom, not freedom to download illegally), it will strangle generic medication (not part of this discussion) and it will strangle local commerce (very much the issue at present).

Patrick Bach, producer behind Battlefield 4 has an additional view “I’m not sure how the cloud will work for real-time stuff, but I can see how it could work for non-real-time stuff where you need a lot of calculations”, monitoring is not real-time, but requires massive power, here we see a side of that what is monitored and how it requires many servers. By the way, consider that this, when (or if) this is up and running, that the monitoring power of Microsoft will exceed that of the NSA by a massive margin. It seems a little extreme for streaming TV shows and online players, doesn’t it?

Additional evidence comes from the Australian (at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/copyright-law-is-failing-to-keep-up-with-internet/story-e6frg9if-1227050705973, this link requires you to subscribe) “As a former chief financial officer, I follow the money: these schemes haven’t worked, because the content owners aren’t prepared to invest in their administration. If they were genuinely effective, surely the movie and television studios would be happy to throw resources at such schemes“.

Again, as a technologist this could definitely be done, yet this is not in the ISP interest at all, his fortune is all about bandwidth, reducing it costs him money.

This is why I thought that the entire action was a waste of time from before the very beginning. Until greed (read revenue) from the Telco’s is set straight, whatever deal comes, will come at the price of ALL valid users and for the larger extent at the cost of their freedom (read privacy).

Yet, in all the tweets, Brendan Molloy does repeat on many occasions the issue that is at the centre of it all “fix your business models“. This is at the centre, yet in all scenario’s several players lose out on revenue (and loads of it), in addition Australia is not even at the heart of the issue that is playing behind the screens. For people like Google and Netflix (where a few groups have a valued investment of over 10 billion), it is not Australia, but the UK where the big price is. Australia with its 10 million households is just a small individual away from the Commonwealth pack. Yet this does not just hit the bandwidth and download models.

In all this, I have one other link. This one http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/09/malcolm-turnbulls-anti-piracy-forum-live-blog-follow-the-news-as-it-happens/ shows us the entire copyright AU evening and when you read it, please try to consider the following:

  1. The words ‘Revenue’ and ‘Bandwidth’ did not get mentioned ONCE. You might think that with illegal downloads and copyright infringements that issue would come up at least once, but both iiNet and Telstra were extremely cautious to sail away from getting near it. In my view that forum did exactly what it needed to do, keep interest away from the TPP, bandwidth and where the actual money would be draining from.

All this is as I expected it to be and if you read my previous blogs then you would have read that pointlessness is next to greediness. Not grammatically correct, but highly accurate. Whether we see changes remains to be seen, but the moment the TPP comes into effect the changes will be massive and it is likely that this changes get announced whilst the ink of the autographs on the TPP agreement is still drying.

So, why is this about changing topics?

Well, the discussion seems to be about piracy, copyright and copyright infringement, but the topic that hinders all events (like revenue and more important ‘blood money’) is kept out of the discussion for now.

I have already discussed revenue in more than one place, so feel free to read the other blog article (The real issue here!, mentioned at the beginning) to catch up on it. What I have not talked about is the issue of ‘Blood-money’. It is not my phrase, but I have adopted it as it applies (to some extent). You see, this is not the price of the game, not the cost of doing business. It is the price of being there and staying alive. It seems pure and simple, but it is not. You see, the topic of micro transactions is a little more complex and as such it is important to distinguish between them.

  1. The good guys and girls!

Highest on my list is Blacklight: Retribution. It is released for the PS4, yet there is also a PC edition. The game is large and is FREE! So how do they make money? Well they rely on micro transactions. When buying stuff you have two options, you start low, but as you get through games and as your score is there, you get money, this money allows for low to medium styled weapons. They are not cheap so it will take a little time to acquire the cash. Yet, it is free and you have time, so this is all good. However, if you want that one piece, that ultimate weapon, the slamalamadingdong of all shotguns that will rip through flesh, bone and Kevlar as you squeeze of the right trigger of your controller, then you must purchase Z-coins. There is an off-set here. Partially I think that without Z-coins you will be in a long trial to get decent gear to oppose, yet consider that this is all multiplayer and for those who are not really into this, it means no $99 and this is good, you can invest $10 to get decent gear. I think the approach is pretty good in this economy. This approach is better than try before you buy and is a decent business model. There are others that do this too and some have too steep a curve of costs, but Blacklight seemed reasonable.

For the iPad there is ‘Elemental Kingdoms’. A game, which is free to play and as you play and win, you get coin, which allows you to buy packs with random cards. It is easy to play, the game looks extremely well and the artwork is amazing, the cards unlike with actual cards evolve as you invest in the card, making it more powerful. If you purchase gems with your own cash you can buy packs with more rare cards and better rare cards, which makes for better odds. New players will get double the amount of gems with their first purchase. a good approach.

So, this is the good model, some like it, some do not, but nothing is for free and this way you get the pleasure to try and the option to grow without spending a cent. Those eager to step forward quicker can place $10-$25 and get a head start.

  1. The demons

Here we have the bad side. Whether we go after the Forza games, Gran Turismo or the classic which should now be regarded as an utter joke on the iPad! Prices range from roughly $7.5 for 500,000 in game credits to $75 for 7 million credits. Now consider that one car could cost you 20 million credits, which would be one of the extreme top cars, but that means one additional car at around twice the price for the whole game. How is this even considered sane? This pales by comparison when we see a great classic like Dungeon Keeper seems to push people to invest vast amounts of money into gems so that the player can get anywhere. This is free-to-play?

These are two extremes, yet how does this relate to the initial issue?

This is where the future takes us. The market on many levels is pushing for micro transactions on all fields. Whether it is an app or just a service, it is not just a worry, the future as we see it comes again from the Apple Market. This is not just the versions of the iPhone6 (plus or not), but the other options like the Apple Watch, where we see an interaction between watch and phone. This sounds like a decent gimmick, yet did you consider the exploitation of the consumer through services via micro transactions as well as the events we get as Apple collects all this data? It is not just Apple, where one goes Google will follow and the entire debate we saw on copyright now gets a whole new meaning as people on a global level sign up for ‘services’. This is where packaging of services will truly get a consequence. What if you have Foxtel?

Now we revisit the following statements:

Ed Husic: “Abbott Govt should tackle copyright, pricing, access simultaneously and not just @copyrightau 1st

Brendan Molloy: “fix your business models

Jonathan BlowSaying 300,000 servers when they are virtual, is a lie

I think that the business models have been adjusted, yet I think the adjustment is moving in a very dangerous direction. The Ed Husic nail is getting hit by a massive hammer; there is, at the core of these changes a need to immediately revisit pricing and taxation sides. You see, the ‘micro-transactions’ might seem small, but it reflects on the dangers we face how the frog will not jump out of the pot when the water is slowly brought to a boil, when we react to micro transactions, we will react too late. In this economy we need to make sure the consumer is protected as well as the national coffers, because when Apple and Google start their $0.99 a month service per service we will be hoisting millions a month outside of Australian tax shores, whilst at the same time collecting all that data to be resold and analysed at the other end giving them additional billions in revenue. The Privacy act will not guard us in any way for this new consumer wave. This all brings me to the question, how much do Telstra, Optus and iiNet know at present? Does the intelligence community realise this change of data and how can they keep track of some of the more shady events. Last but not least, when ‘3rd party’ people start pushing out data apps, how can this tsunami of data even be sifted through?

The final part will get us to the conclusion (at (at http://thenextweb.com/apple/2014/09/01/this-could-be-the-apple-icloud-flaw-that-led-to-celebrity-photos-being-leaked/) we see that last week someone took a look at certain events. and it gives us this quote “The vulnerability allegedly discovered in the Find My iPhone service appears to have let attackers use this method to guess passwords repeatedly without any sort of lockout or alert to the target. Once the password has been eventually matched, the attacker can then use it to access other iCloud functions freely“. As stated, this is not a fact at present, but it does give serious voice to the hacked phones.

Things you might think that have no bearing, but as we consider the case of the 101 naked celebrities (like Disney’s Dalmatians for adults), what else can outsiders get access to when people start using these new gadgets? If we consider that the financially well off start using these innovations first, how long until this clear target becomes a target of interest to the cyber-criminal?

So many issues linked to the changing topic. My question, what topic SHOULD have been debated? This is not about copyright perse, but that links to all of this, it is about a missing league of securities that endangers the lives of many Australians and none Australians alike. It is a change to facilitate for profit and data to be handed to big business at the expense of our personal, social and economic safety. Sides many seem to ignore.

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Are we getting played?

I have been away for a little while, which happens! We all have priorities a times and for the most of us (including me), when we are not directly involved in an issue, we tend to ignore them. This applies for me too. Yet, the news as I saw it last night was a little more then just uncomfortable. Last April (the 15th), I wrote the blog article ‘Facts, Fiction or Fantasy‘. I got two responses on how ludicrous the ideas were and as they were just filled with profanities, I decided to trash the messages (it is my prerogative to do so). In the article, I mentioned on how Greece had started to sell bonds again. Their credit rating seemed to have gone up just ever so slightly. Now I read that over the last two days that bank shares have fallen 5.66% and 5.79% respectively. The first complaint that I am likely to hear is how these two are not the same and one does not mean that the other is true, which is correct, but consider the following. A bond is nothing more an ‘I owe you’ between the seller (the Greek government) and the buyer (the investor). The investor relies on information like credit ratings (from places like S&P and Moody for example) to make an assessment on how realistic the investment is. The fact that almost a month later the quote ‘Greek lenders are likely to face large losses over the next two years’ is seen, gives rise to the question whether any upgrade to the credit rating was valid.

Basically, the values of bank shares have diminished by 11% in just two days. How are we getting played? Consider that the banks are dependent on governments, consumers and others to survive. The fact that they went down 11% in two days in a month after the government sold another 5 billion in bonds is not unrelated. The fact that we got informed by the IMF (a ‘prediction’ which is bogus in my view), on how economies were getting better (they stated: “17 out of 18 economies would be positive economies in 2014”), was already not realistic, now we see the Greek bank shares drop and next, in regards to current credit ratings, Ireland now ‘suddenly’ gets a small upgrade.

The question becomes whether rating offices (like S&P and Moody) engaged in what I personally regard as a ‘criminal endeavor to perpetrate a fraud’ against the people of these nations? More important, are they servicing the American banking moguls in that respect? Let me elaborate on this thought. No matter how the American economy is seen, the USA treasury coffers are far beyond minus 17,000 billion (= 17 trillion). The interest on that must come from somewhere and the USA is not likely to be able to afford any level of paybacks for a long time to come, especially considering that this administration has been unable to achieve any kind of balanced budget from the moment they came into office. This is nothing compared to the total USA debt which is somewhere between 50 and 70 trillion (I have no reliable source on what that actual amount currently is). The idea that the EEC might fall apart must be a Titanic sized Wall Street nightmare at present. UKIP is growing (for now) and the French Front Nationale is definitely on course to become the leading French party. Both parties, as well as the Dutch PVV are all in favor of segregating away from the Euro mess and if that happens, the American goose is truly cooked. If they (the financial institutions) are playing a game where too many nations have added even more debt, then the chance of moving away from the EEC is less likely as it would become too unrealistic in regards to the costs that would be incurred on the French and British coin when the total EEC debts are spread around, which might be the game that is currently being played.

It is likely that my thoughts are completely wrong and so out of whack that they only belong with the conspiracy theory magazines. Yet, when we see the debts these places are in, then upgrading any level of credit is just utterly insane to begin with, so I might have something here.

It is not just the issue on ‘how’ or even ‘if’ there is any form of economic growth, the issue is that the outstanding debts are a local responsibility and in stead of push it forward to the next government in place, these governments (all EEC nations) have a sworn duty to stop handing debts onto the next generation. They have a solemn duty to lower the debt. It is not their responsibility to enable multimillion-dollar bonuses to financial groups. They must lower debts. We as people are not here to cater to a group of what I regard to be as flaccid US economists, we all need stronger economies and increasing debts are no way to get to these stronger economies.

Here in Australia we see the objections on the harsh measures that are now being taken by treasurer Joe Hockey. I agree with him to a larger extent. I have zero sympathy for the honorable Bill Shorten (The initials BS are interestingly fitting), on how campaign promises were ‘broken’. He should remember that it was HIS side that had overspend by hundreds of billions. Money their side did not have, so after dumping a car mess and debt mess on the Liberals, they are now crying in opposition. The added mentions by Chris Bowen are equally a joke as this is a Labor mess that the ALP members are now trying to resolve. None of them seem to mention that it was THEIR party in government that had spend the money they never had. Perhaps Labor should consider answering questions on how these issues, which were known long before the election started, should have been resolved before the election started. They will not have any answers there. They overspend and WE (the taxpayers) are now burdened with fixing these issues! In that regard Australia seems to be taking a leaf out of the book or Chancellor Merkel, who through massive austerity directives got the German economy in a much better shape. I feel relieved (even thought it hurts me too), that the ALP is now fighting to get the Australian economy stronger and the coffers of the treasury out of debt. Personally I still believe that when (not if) the US Dollar collapses after the first loan defaults, any nation in massive debt will learn the hard way, the price it faces when the debt is due. Those without debt will get to call the shots for the future and personally I will be happy when we will be sitting at the global governing table where we can choose what will be best for us. Those at the table without a coin should remain silent at the table, those holding the loan slips will get to decide the future for all others, a lesson that is likely to be humiliating and no fun for the citizens of the involved nations in debt.

In the end no matter how good an economy is, the upcoming profit will go to whomever they are indebted to for a long time to come.

It is not a nice solution and in these times it will never be a nice solution, but it must be solved and whilst we might see the insulating joke scandal that had cost money and lives are another side how the Australian Labor party had failed the Australian population. This is not just me bashing the Australian Labor party (no matter how entertaining that exercise is), Bowen is an economist and as such he should in my eyes know better then to proceed on the outspoken track he seems to be. The question in this regard is who Labor was listening to whilst Labor was governing with the fighting twins at the head of that table (Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard). I feel certain that during that term someone was advising the treasurers Wayne Swan and Chris Bowen (which would be a perfectly valid act), who were the advisors in those years? We can all agree that even though overspending by hundreds of billions is a really bad idea, claiming it was only the treasurers act is just folly! Someone had an advisory plan and the Australian people has a right to know who that was, especially as it is Chris Bowen (former treasurer), now claiming that current affairs are so out of touch with reality that he is rallying the people against the ALP at present. I do think that some cutbacks are too harsh, yet, as I see it, Labor has no right to speak out, as these matters would not be the issue if they had not overspend all these billions.

This is at the heart of the matter; it is about the advisors behind the screens.  We need to see and hear those names! When we seen the list of advisors in that regard (on a global scale), we might be able to start painting a picture. There is even a chance that this picture is a lot more incestuous then a global view of Market Research, but we will decide on that when the picture is drawn.

We can all agree that governing parties are in need of advice and as such, they draw a plan, which is/was executed. So where did the debt come from and who did not close the wallet in time? If that was just the treasurer, then Chris Bowen has in my view no right at all to be this upset as he was the previous treasurer. That part is exactly part of the pain that is playing in Greece and perhaps soon in Ireland too. Where are the people behind the screens? If Sky News is to be believed then the prospect that ‘Greek lenders are likely to face large losses over the next two years‘ shows that upgrading the credit rating of Greece and the subsequent selling of billions in bonds was more then just a really bad idea. It boils down to another example of bad news management. I wonder whether investors would have a claim if they lost money on the purchased bonds only one month ago. Should my case be proven, it should also be clear that we should see the names of those ‘advising‘ on increased credit scores. I do not mean the names of the companies, but the names of the individuals who signed off on that news. Just like the names of the EEC economists that claimed that 17 out of 18 economies would grow in 2014 (mentioned in my blog on May 8th called ‘Public Naming‘).

It is time to shine a light on those who are the cause of many governments overspending their budgets by a lot and on those ‘analysts’ who seem to decide on how much an economy ‘should’ grow, especially as they drop the value of Twitter, who grew revenue by 119% (an amazing feat), which amounts to almost a quarter of a billion dollars. In my view, we the people are getting played by a select group of ‘economists’, who seem to be making more per person per month post taxation then most of us make in a year pre taxation. If you think I am kidding, then consider that the $5 billion in Greek bonds from last April represented a bonus value of $50 million; do you still think I am kidding? When Ireland ‘suddenly’ starts selling bonds, remember that someone will end up with up to 1% of that amount in commissions.

We are all getting played to some extent and it is high time that this stops before we end up paying the bills of other people’s overspending spree! Getting out of our national debt should be our only concern until this is achieved. A goal that should be shared by all the EEC nations as well.


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Humanitarian Law…..the End!

We have seen a few spectacles lately that give rise to acts of a questionable nature. The Netherlands had the death of a refused refugee who after some basic checks should have passed the test of being allowed to stay with the greatest of ease. It was a black moment in Dutch affairs. Yet, this is only one case and it dwarves by a landslide when we look at the issues that Australia is facing.

In 2011 the Labour government under Julia Gillard decided that it would be a great idea to ship refugees to Malaysia, to process them there. This idea was stopped by Chief Justice Robert French right and proper. The issue is seen in ‘convention and protocol relating to the status of refugees‘ (at http://www.unhcr.org/3b66c2aa10.html).

Article 33(1). No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

It was stated in the Sydney Morning Herald (21st August 2011) “The court’s full bench agreed 6-1 that Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s declaration that Malaysia was an appropriate place to send asylum seekers was wrong“. I reckon that Mr Bowen might have forgotten about the convention Australia agreed with.

Even though I was never that active in Humanitarian Law or Refugee and Immigration laws, this event opened my eyes and I learned that the refugee issue is one that had been in long standing. Even though we can see that the Labour party bungled this play, they were not the only ones playing the game. If we step back to 2001, we see that it was former Prime Minister John Howard who stated On 28 October 2001, at his 2001 election campaign policy launch “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.

So this is an issue that affects the political field on both sides of the isle. I reckon if we had an Australian version of UKIP, it would be a three sided spectacle. Is there an issue? Well, in all fairness I reckon there is one. As these refugees end up, or quickly move to a large city (yes, we have 5 large cities in Australia) then the infrastructure could collapse as these refugees who have limits on work skills and language skills would not be able to get ahead (a realistic view, not a demeaning one). This does not mean that I am against refugees; I am only stating that a solution should be found, preferably an urban/rural one. Let us not forget that Australia has 21,000 Km of beachfront space. There should be an option on the creation of villages where they can become farmers and build a life. Some will consider other options, which is fair enough. I believe that such villages would enable these people to take some time as they get used to life in Australia. If we consider the option of growing food for export, then I see some future in several Wasabi farms. The Japanese will eat all the Wasabi they can get their grips on and as Sashimi gains popularity all over the world, the need for Soy sauce and Wasabi only grows. If we need to look for other ways to grow the Australian economy, then what about a solution using Dutch greenhouses? Their innovation of a solution that allows the growth of all kinds of fruits and vegetables that normally will not survive the harsh Dutch autumn and winter is almost legend. So there are several options. In other directions we see how refugees could start building a future for themselves as they work and get schooled into the Australian way of life (one does not learn Cricket overnight).

Yet these ideas are all nice do face another onslaught of ‘limitations’. This was shown yesterday in the Australian Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/25/abbott-png-operation-sovereign-borders. Here we see the mention of Operation Sovereign Border. Yes, this time it is the Liberal side that comes with the ‘new’ ideas. There is the mention of “a military-led response” to combat people smuggling. The policy is published at http://lpaweb-static.s3.amazonaws.com/Policies/OperationSovereignBorders_Policy.pdf

They do waste a little space to illustrate the plans from Labour that failed, yet I am more interested in the idea that works. You see, people smuggling will ALWAYS work. People smuggling is all about paying it forward. The refugee pays upfront, and then they might make it (however usually they never do). The issue is that these events need to be stopped at the start. How can they do that? Advertising on TV in the nations of departure? Most of those will never be seen. Leaflets get thrown out and so forth. So this is about stopping people with NO options left. So however these plans are presented by Tony Abbott, there is a chance that they will fail almost completely. I especially liked the idea to turn back boats if it is safe to do so (slight voice of sarcasm). How long until less secure ships will ‘accidently’ start to sink when the ADF gets too close? Then what? Let us not forget that the refugees have paid up front, so sinking a $5000 junk dinghy whilst $50,000 has been collected is an excellent ROI for smugglers. This is why people smuggle ALWAYS works. The idea to push these responsibilities towards the ADF is equally less desired. Yes, the ADF (Navy) will patrol the shores of Australia to keep us safe, yet they are people and as such they will not (and should not) act hostile against unarmed refugees. Yes, the Navy has a job to do, there is however the danger that comes with the mission when it becomes about blocking boats. It is not unlikely that any escalation will result in the world press slamming Australia for armed intervention against non-combatants, a story, which at that point could turn nasty quite quickly. The navy is likely to end up looking bad no matter what, and the refugees, who are already victims, would just end up in the middle, a place they were already in. How is this any kind of solution?

Mr Abbott quite correctly countered labours next idea on off shore processing using Papua New Guinea. It is indeed an Australian issue to solve. There are also issues with the same charter former PM Gillard overlooked. PNG currently has 7 reservations on issues that are stated to be a clear right to a refugee. It does not matter whether PNG will remove these reservations, as these reservations are presently in effect; PNG remains an unlikely solution until these reservations have been removed. So the issues should be solved within the Australian territory. The added message is that the PNG solution will cost! At http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/54587 we read:
The government is yet to release the cost of the PNG plan, but using the Immigration Department’s own contracts, estimates of operating processing centres suggest the expansion of Manus Island from 600 detainees to 3000 would incur an initial cost of $600 million.
Are we not better off spending that money on locations here in Australia? If we want to start new communities, creating a small town might even be cheaper and it will grow local economy, housing and solve part of the refugee issues. I agree that my view might be lightly unrealistically skewed, yet I cannot stop wondering how deep the experts actually investigated possible local solutions.
We should all consider that as we see ‘blown-out’ spending running into the billions.

So what to do?

First there is the claim that the report Operation Sovereign Borders Policy held. “The total cost to Australian taxpayers for managing illegal boat arrivals has increased from $85 million in 2007-08 to $3 billion in 2013-14. Between 2007-08 and 2013-14, the budget for managing illegal boat arrivals has blown-out by $10.3 billion.

I agree that this is a massive cost. I would like to see a run-down of these costs. Not generic, but specific. I believe that we should find a solution to the issues, I am however not certain that the blockade approach will work to any degree, so why press for such levels of spending? Let’s also realise that unless the navy gets a fleet twice the current size, our seafront is just too large to patrol for boat refugees. It amounts to a solution no less expensive than a very high fence over the total stretch of Texas bordering Mexico. Thoughts that were matched by former chief of the defence force Admiral Chris Barrie who said in the Canberra Times: “I can’t see this making more than an incremental difference at best.


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