Episode 279 – Satanic Stamps and other Hypocrisies

In this episode we discuss Australia Post rejecting Satanic postage stamps, State Premier approval ratings, Maori Tattoos, Labor and Coal, a woke Chief Scientist, USA employment, property developer donation laws and Australia’s relationship with China.

Noosa Temple of Satan


Grace Grace

Religious Instruction

BCC prayers

State Premiers Approval Ratings

From Essential Poll

Maori Tattoos

From BBC

Maori face tattoo: It is OK for a white woman to have one?

Facial tattoos have been a part of Maori culture for centuries, a sacred marker of the wearer’s genealogy and heritage.

But one woman’s striking chin design – or moko – has generated huge debate in New Zealand, because she is white, with no Maori heritage.

Sally Anderson, who is married to a Maori man, says her moko symbolises her personal struggles and life story.

But she’s been accused of appropriating Maori culture for personal gain.

“We have to protect the last bastions that we have as Maori to make us different,” said one expert.

Why are moko so important to Maori?

Moko are carved into the skin using chisels. They are a sacred tradition, denoting a person’s links with their family and cultural identity.

Facial tattoos – moko kauae – are of particular importance. Men’s moko tend to cover their entire face, while the women’s cover the chin.

“Maori regard the face or the head as particularly sacred,” says Mera Lee-Penehira, associate professor at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi.

“So the carvings that go on the face or head are also particularly sacred.”

What’s the controversy?

Ms Anderson, who runs a life coaching business, had her moko kauae done a few years ago by a Maori artist.

She has been quoted as saying it symbolises what she has gone through in life, including a violent gang rape in her youth.

The simple design “explains the transformative work that Sally does”, said a statement on her website.

The tattoo artist Inia Taylor has said he had “strong reservations” about carrying out the work, “but after many calls and discussions I realised that the only reason to denying her would be that of race”.

But he recently complained to Ms Anderson that she seemed to be using the moko to promote her business. In response, Ms Anderson took the references to her tattoo off her website, though pictures remained.

Why are some Maori upset?

“It’s not acceptable,” says Ms Lee-Penehira, who herself has a chin moko. “You can only have it if you have a genealogy that is Maori.

“It reflects who we are and it represents your family, your sub-tribes and tribes.”

Associate Professor Te Kahautu Maxwell at the University of Waikato – who is also tattooed – says the moko has become an important symbol of post-colonialism.

“It’s a tradition that was nearly obsolete because of colonisation and the practices of missionaries,” he told the BBC.

It’s only since the late 20th Century that there has been a huge resurgence in taking the moko, both for men and women.

“It’s the Maori deciding to reclaim their heritage and identity,” says Mr Maxwell.

“We have to protect the last bastions that we have as Maori to make us different.”

In a passionate Facebook post, artist Ngahina Hohaia said it would not only have been acceptable for Inia Taylor to say no to Ms Anderson on the basis of her race, it was a “requirement”.

The moko “stands as a bastion of our survival”, she wrote. “Cultural appropriation has pillaged almost every other taonga [treasure] sacred to our people. The line is drawn here.”

However, one Maori leader, David Rankin of the Ngāpuhi, told the AM Show he didn’t mind.

“She paid for it. It’s her chin and if she wants to walk around with a scribble on her face that’s entirely up to her.”

Are moko accepted on Maori people?

Mr Maxwell says it’s been “a challenge” for those who have tried to bring back the moko.

“As a wearer myself I am looked down upon even though I am an associate professor at a university,” he says.

“Non-Maori see me in the supermarket for instance and they laugh at me and their kids say ‘mommy mommy that man looks funny’. Those are the things that I have to endure as a Maori trying to have the moko accepted once again.”

Ms Lee-Penehira got her moko done some 12 years ago and says that at the time it was still unusual for women to do so.

“I am very happy to say though that it is no longer a rarity now, it’s becoming more common practice among our women.”

She stresses that she is not making any judgement on Ms Anderson as a person. “But the bottom line is that the Koko is solely the right of Maori – and we need to guard and protect that.”

What does Sally Anderson say?

She has not commented on the furore.

Her husband Roger Te Tai, who is Maori and has a full facial moko, told TV show Te Karere that it took him a while to accept her wish to get the tattoo, but that his wife was “more Maori than you’ll ever be”.

“Because her heart is pure, always has been. Her soul is a pure soul.

“When you judge a person and you haven’t met them, what does that say about you?”


Fist: If you want a facial tattoo, get one. If you expect me to care that you identify as ___ then you will be disappointed. For activists denying her identification, would you do the same to a trans person? Sorry, wrong genetic code.

Like Satanic activism, sometimes you need the enemy to adopt the argument in order to expose the hypocrisy.

Right Wing Lefties

From the ABC

Paul didn’t like the term right wing.


Canberra’s revolving door of political leaders is creaking again.

Nearly 18 months after taking over as Labor leader, Anthony Albanese is facing his first real threat after veteran right-winger Joel Fitzgibbon spectacularly quit the frontbench.

The Member for Hunter insists the move has been months in the making, but it follows a long and public spat with his left-wing colleagues over climate change and energy policy.

On Monday night, the spat nearly erupted into an all-out brawl in Shadow Cabinet, a meeting that those present say was one of the most acrimonious they’ve ever seen.

Albanese warned of “instability” creeping into Labor ranks, and referred to unnamed colleagues who had undermined Labor’s strategy of arguing Joe Biden’s election win in the US had left Scott Morrison’s Government isolated on climate change.

Knowing he was the subject of Albanese’s frustration, Fitzgibbon interjected and asked why his leader was talking about him as if he wasn’t in the room.

The long-serving regional MP’s views have been well canvassed since last year’s shock election loss. Fitzgibbon has repeatedly said he is determined to “put the labour” back into the Labor Party.

Labor’s challenge is appealing to progressive voters who want strong action on climate change, while backing the blue collar workers in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia whose jobs rely on the high-emitting industries.

As leader, Albanese has shifted the rhetoric to focus on the jobs and opportunities that a clean energy future will create.

Clearly the shift hasn’t been great enough for some. Fitzgibbon, freshly freed from the constraints of the frontbench, called a press conference on Tuesday to declare war (of sorts).

First came his battle plan.

“If you want to act on climate change, the first step is to become the government,” he told reporters.

“And to become the government, you need to have a climate change and energy policy that can be embraced by a majority of the Australian people.”

But there are those on the right (particularly in the pro-coal Otis Group) who are pleased he’s trying to reframe the debate within Labor around ambition on climate change.

The battle over coal at the heart of Labor’s tensions

Fitzgibbon inherited the coal-rich, regional New South Wales seat of Hunter from his father in 1996.

But what had been a safe Labor seat turned perilously marginal last year when he suffered a massive 10 per cent swing against him, after preferences.

Voters turned instead to the populist right-wing party One Nation, delivering Fitzgibbon a near-death political experience.

He held onto his seat, but in the days following Labor’s shock election loss, Fitzgibbon toyed with the idea of contesting the leadership, if for no other reason than to send a message about the party’s policy direction.

He now says he regrets not doing so.

… climate change threatens to tear Labor apart and in doing so, it could deeply damage Albanese.

The policy has almost become a symbol of the existential threat facing the party; who does it stand for? Rich inner city types or working class voters?

Labor is united in its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 — the target Biden has promised to adopt when he takes office.

What is unresolved is the medium-term target Labor sets.

Fitzgibbon, who supports the 2050 ambition, insists he believes in taking action on climate change. But he sees an overly ambitious approach as being toxic to the ALP’s electoral appeal outside the capital cities.

“I wasn’t prepared to allow the cheesecloth brigade in the Caucus to use Biden’s win to argue for even more ambitious policy,” he said, in presumed reference to his inner city colleagues more worried by the threat of the Greens than a resource workers’ backlash.

Like any fight, this one will end when someone backs down. That person doesn’t appear to be Joel Fitzgibbon.

Labor and Coal

From Crikey

Joel Fitzgibbon isn’t the only pro-fossil-fuel figure within Labor. He’s backed by key Labor donors, the Australian Workers’ Union and the CFMEU, both of which oppose effective climate action in the name of looking after fossil-fuel-industry jobs.

Labor also receives generous donations from fossil-fuel companies like Santos, Origin and Woodside, advocates of gas and the myth of carbon capture and storage.

And while press gallery coverage of the stoush between Fitzgibbon and the Labor leader Anthony Albanese (and advocates for effective climate action within Labor) is framed in the terms Fitzgibbon prefers — that climate action is inimical to the interests of working-class voters — the real beneficiaries of Fitzgibbon’s activism would be fossil-fuel companies, especially large, mainly foreign-owned multinational mining companies.

As Crikey pointed out back in July, major mining companies either — in the case of BHP — want to get out of all but the highest grade thermal coal and coking coal, or have shut down their thermal coal operations for weeks at a time, as Glencore has in the Hunter Valley and Queensland.

Glencore is one of the biggest miners in the Hunter Valley, not to mention one of the world’s biggest tax dodgers and a routine user of transfer pricing to avoid tax obligations in developing countries. It is currently embroiled in a major fight with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) over transfer pricing. According to the ATO’s 2017-18 corporate tax data, Glencore paid about 11% tax on $2 billion in taxable income and about $16 billion in revenue.

Another Hunter Valley multinational, Peabody, the world’s largest coal producer, has revealed it is facing bankruptcy again — for the second time since 2016 — in the face of slumping coal revenues and massive debt. Peabody has already slashed jobs at its NSW and Queensland mines this year and suspended operations. There’s now a concern taxpayers will be left on the hook for the cost of remediating Peabody’s mines.

All this has happened in the complete absence of any serious climate action policy. It’s been driven by the collapse in demand for thermal coal.

If Fitzgibbon wants any more evidence that thermal coalmining has no future he can look north to the results reported by Queensland state electricity generators.

The two companies — Stanwell and CS Energy — own two-thirds of Queensland’s power stations and just reported losses for 2019-20 of $240 million for Stanwell and $77.6 million for the smaller CS Energy.

That was driven by the fall in the weighted average price of electricity in Queensland by a third — from $80.29 a megawatt hour in 2018-19 to $53.41 in 2019-20.

The companies were forced to use impairment tests to check the future value of their key assets — their huge coal-fired power stations. Both were forced to write them down — by $719.6 million in the case of Stanwell and $350 million for CS Energy.

They haven’t just been hit by the pandemic and its effect on electricity demand but by the surge in investment in renewables. As the Stanwell annual report put it:

Compounding the imbalance caused by supply increases is the market view that there will be little to no growth in future electricity demand. Population growth will continue to provide growth in household energy consumption; however, it is likely that this growth will be offset by the continued penetration and increased system size of rooftop solar.

Who’s investing in rooftop solar? Many of the blue-collar workers Fitzgibbon claims Labor has lost touch with. In Queensland households solar penetration is about 33%.

Perhaps Fitzgibbon, the AWU and the CFMEU ought to have a word to them and tell them to get behind coal again and help out the likes of Peabody and Glencore.


A Woke Chief Scientist?

From ABC

Australia’s next chief scientist will be renowned physicist Cathy Foley, who will commence the appointment in January.

Key points:

  • Cathy Foley will be Australia’s ninth chief scientist and the second woman appointed to the role
  • Dr Foley’s research includes using superconductors to locate mineral deposits
  • She will take over from Alan Finkel, who has been chief scientist since 2016 and whose term concludes in December

Dr Foley is currently chief scientist at CSIRO.


Dr Foley will be the second woman chief scientist. She follows astronomer Penny Sackett, who held the role from 2008 to 2011.

Dr Foley has long championed diversity in science and leadership, and encourages girls and women to study traditionally male-dominated realms of science, such as engineering, maths and physics.

And in the face of a changing climate and more extreme floods and bushfires, she said Australia must recognise and harness the know-how that’s been here all along.

“There’s a huge opportunity for us to really dig into Indigenous scientific knowledge and learn from the tens of thousands of years of understanding of sustainability.

“We’ve been pretty arrogant not recognising what is there for us to learn from.

“I would hope that we get to a point where we will have an Indigenous Australian chief scientist in the future.”

Crocodile killings see Castaway by Robert Macklin

Extraordinary Survival Story of Narcisse Pelletier, a Young French Cabin Boy Shipwrecked on Cape York in 1858


USA Employment?

From CBS News

America’s unemployment rate is at a half-century low, but it also has a job-quality problem that affects nearly half the population, with a study finding 44% of U.S. workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay median annual wages of $18,000.

Contrary to popular opinion, these workers aren’t teenagers or young adults just starting their careers, write Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which conducted the analysis.

Most of the 53 million Americans working in low-wage jobs are adults in their prime working years, or between about 25 to 54, they noted. Their median hourly wage is $10.22 per hour — that’s above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour but well below what’s considered the living wage for many regions.

Even though the economy is adding more jobs, there’s increasing evidence that many of those new positions don’t offer the kind of wages and benefits required to get ahead. A new measure called the Job Quality Index recently found there is now a growing number of low-paying jobs relative to employment with above-average pay.

For the U.S. overall, median household income is $66,465, according to Sentier Research, with roughly half of families earning less than that amount.

Workers aren’t shy about expressing their frustrations, with about 6 of 10 workers saying their jobs are mediocre to downright bad, according to a recent Gallup job-quality survey. For instance, 1 in 5 workers told Gallup their benefits are worse now than five years ago.


While you were sleeping

By Luke Beck in Michael West Media

While Australians were distracted last week by Melbourne’s lockdown ending and the final days of the Queensland and United States elections, the two major parties joined forces in federal parliament to weaken political donations laws.

A new provision they passed allows property developers to ignore state laws banning them from making political donations where the donation is “for federal purposes”. This measure ensures federal laws override state anti-corruption laws, making it easier for federal politicians to accept secret donations from property developers.

NSW banned property developers from making political donations in January 2010, Queensland has banned such donations from October 2017, while the ACT government’s ban comes into effect from 1 July, 2021.

The backstory to new laws

In 2019, the High Court upheld Queensland laws banning property developers from donating to political parties. The Palaszczuk government introduced the ban after a recommendation by the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission.

The Queensland ban applies to donations made to state and local political campaigns as well as general donations to political parties. A general donation might be used for federal, state or local political purposes or for the costs of running a party.

At the same time, the High Court also struck down a 2018 federal law that said property developers could ignore state laws banning them from making general donations to political parties. (Yes — federal parliament really did pass a law overriding state anti-corruption powers!)

The High Court said federal parliament had no power to regulate political donations that merely “might be” used for federal campaigns.

Secret donations from dodgy developers

The legislation passed last week overrides state bans on property developer donations in two ways.

First, it introduces a new provision to replace the 2018 federal law struck down by the High Court. This provision allows property developers (and others banned from making donations under state laws) to ignore state laws banning them from making political donation where the donation is “for federal purposes”.

Second, the legislation allows property developers and political parties to ignore state laws requiring that donations be disclosed. In NSW and Queensland, donations of $1,000 or more need to be disclosed. Under the new federal law, only donations of $14,300 or more made by property developers “for federal purposes” need to be disclosed. 

Why this is bad for integrity

If you are a property developer wanting to curry favour with political parties in NSW or Queensland, you are now allowed to make a donation of $14,299 and no one will ever know. All you need to do is tell the party the money is “for federal purposes”.

While the law requires parties to keep money donated “for federal purposes” in separate bank accounts, a donation “for federal purposes” frees up money from other, general donations to be used for state purposes.

The Greens and independent MPs lined up to criticise the new law. As member for Indi, Helen Haines told parliament:

“This bill locks in the status quo when it comes to the current political donations culture at the federal level.”

Meanwhile, Tasmanian lower house MP Andrew Wilkie described the law as allowing “brazen money laundering”.

Senator Jacqui Lambie said the law was “a doozy” of a way “to hide big donor money from the voters” and “the latest in a long line of betrayals of the public’s trust”.


From SBS

Malaysia’s former premier Mahathir Mohamad said Muslims have a right to “kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past” hours after three people were killed in a knife attack in Nice.

The horrific incident, which saw one woman beheaded in the city’s Notre Dame church, has been described as an Islamic terrorist attack by French President Emmanual Macron.

In a blog post on Friday, Mr Mahathir, 95, a respected leader in the Muslim world, said he believed in freedom of expression but that it should not be used to insult others.

“Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past. But by and large, the Muslims have not applied the ‘eye for an eye’ law. Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t,” Mr Mahathir said in a blog post, which he also posted on Twitter.

“Since you have blamed all Muslims and the Muslims’ religion for what was done by one angry person, the Muslims have a right to punish the French,” he said.

Twitter said the message violated its rules and it had removed the tweet.

China Trade

Winter Olympics 2015 – There are moves to boycott.


This week The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald reported that there had been unconfirmed instructions from Chinese customs authorities threatening to block Australian wine, copper, barley, coal, sugar, timber and lobster.

Reflecting on the reader comments, Bagshaw explained how the Chinese carry out such actions.

He said instructions are given verbally to traders, many of them state-linked, and then disseminated through each industry. Phones and written notes are forbidden in these meetings – a written notice to unilaterally stop importing certain products would almost certainly be litigated at the WTO.

“These tactics achieve two things,” Bagshaw says.

“Firstly, the verbal instructions become self-fulfilling. Traders become reluctant to import Australian wine or sugar out of fear they will be stopped at Chinese ports. The Chinese government can then label these actions as a matter for private companies, as they did on Wednesday.”

Secondly, Bagshaw says, it makes Australia second guess its foreign policy without actually telling the government what it has done wrong.

“This puts all aspects of Australia’s foreign policy on China under political pressure rather than any one initiative,” he says.

From Su-Lin Tan in the John Menadue Blog

John Menadue, former Australian head of Trade and head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, said the dispute with China was “pointless and quite unnecessary”.

“The damage to Australia is self-inflicted, led by our intelligence agencies and the media and followed by the government in order to ingratiate itself with [US President] Donald Trump,” he said. “The business sector is as quiet as a church mouse over all the damage that is being incurred. There has been no smart diplomacy. The anti-China hawks are winning the day.”

Geoff Raby

Geoff Raby’s new book: China’s grand strategy and Australia’s future in the new global order.

From Late Night Live

Geoff Raby is an Australian economist and diplomat. He served as the Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China from February 2007 until August 2011. He is now the chairman and CEO of Geoff Raby and Associates, a Beijing-based business advisory firm. Raby currently sits on the board of an Australian subsidiary of Chinese state-run Yanzhou Coal Mining Company.


China has challenges

China is not our enemy

China look at it from their side

China less agro than Taiwan

Angus Houston

From The Guardian

China is Australia’s partner, not an enemy, the former Australian defence chief Angus Houston has declared, as he accused some politicians of engaging in “loose talk” that had helped drive the relationship between Canberra and Beijing to “a very low point”.

“China is our partner, China is not our enemy – let’s get that very straight,” Houston said during an event hosted by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute on Thursday.

He said the latest developments had occurred in the context of increasing tensions between the United States and China.

“Our number one alliance partner is at loggerheads with our number one trading partner,” Houston said. “I think there’s been some, shall I say, loose talk from here in Australia where we’ve seen some comments basically make the circumstances a little worse than they needed to be.”

Houston said some messages from parliamentarians were “ill-disciplined” although he did not name any particular members.

The Labor opposition has previously accused the cabinet of failing to show leadership on the China relationship, leaving a void for hawkish backbenchers to fill with sometimes inflammatory comments.

Houston argued the prime minister, Scott Morrison, the foreign minister, Marise Payne, and the trade minister, Simon Birmingham, had primary responsibility to make statements on the relationship.

“I think our relationship at the moment is at a very low point,” he said.

Houston said while there had been a “number of events” over the course of this year, Australia’s decision in 2018 to exclude Huawei from the 5G network was one of the major factors in the current tensions.

“We need to take a hard look at our relationship with China, I think we need a reset, we need a circuit breaker, because really if we’re going to come out of this recession that we have at the moment because of Covid-19, we need China.”

“They’re not going to go away, they’re going to get stronger, they are going to be a force that we have to deal with, so we’d better work out the best way to deal with them

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