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Are the TPP and TiSA the beginning of the globalisation of health care? February 17, 2015 Written by: The AIM Network 5 Replies Image from the smh.com.au Category: News and Politics permalink The AIM Network “It’s hard not feel that we are being attacked at from all angles with corporations...

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How Dyson Heydon ruled on himself: It’s convoluted – Written by INGRID MATTHEWS

Posted by Winston Close | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 04-09-2015


Ingrid Matthews 10


(Image courtesy https://lifelessonsandhumourwithjoel)

After several false starts, we finally learnt this week that Mr Dyson Heydon will continue in his role presiding over the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption despite submissions of apprehended bias, as determined by himself. Law lecturer Ingrid Matthews examines his decision.

THE reasons for his decision, presumably written in long hand, run to some 67 pages. Few would find it entertaining reading. As befits his reputation as a black letter law man, the document is wordy and complex, replete with minute detail as to what the Commissioner perceives to be the relevant facts and law.

As with any text, the reasons also contain unwritten assumptions. For instance, the Commissioner assumes that it is possible for a decision maker such as himself to bring an objective and neutral mind to his decision-making tasks. This assumption pervades our legal system, yet is questionable at best; and at worst, it is simply untrue.

Are judges impartial?

Consider the fact that decisions in lower courts are routinely overturned on appeal; or that a unanimous bench (such as a 7-0 decision of the High Court), is extraordinarily unusual. Judges make these decisions, and judges all have the same basic task, which is to apply the law to the facts and circumstances of the case at hand. If all judges are impartially carrying out their duties, in accordance with consistent legal reasoning and training, how to explain successful appeals and dissenting judgements?

Human error is inevitable, but if this was the only explanation, we would not see High Court cases almost always decided by majority (rather than unanimity). So there must be some other cause or causes. To explain the parallel universe of the legal system, we must look outside the legal system; and bring understandings from sociology, intersectionalism, and cultural studies to our understanding of the law.

Every person is a product of their background and training, of their experiences and their knowledge of the world. It is unlikely that Dyson Heydon has reflected on the social facts of his demographic privilege. There is no evidence that Heydon is alert to the dominance of white men in the process of defining what is or is not a binding precedent, for example. The harsh realities of oppressive social constructs – such as sexism or racism or homophobia – are not part of Heydon’s lived experience. He can only understand such prejudices, harms, and wrongs in the abstract.

This may seem obvious, but it goes to the heart of whether the 67 pages of reasons as to why Heydon will remain as Royal Commissioner are based on a false assumption. To accept his reasons for his decision, it is necessary to accept the claim that Heydon can bring a neutral mind, and rule impartially, on submissions as to his own apprehended bias.

Is Dyson Heydon a judge?

The claims made in support of this proposition are that it is the norm, at law, for judges to decide on their own recusal in the first instance. This is accurate. If a judge rules against his or her own recusal and a party is still troubled about apprehended bias, the next step is an application to a higher court, where another judge will rule on the question. So yes, this is common legal practice, which does not make it right, but it is lawful.

The ground for making a distinction between Heydon and all the claims made about him based on his judicial experience, or on what judges do, is this: Heydon is not a judge. So what? I hear you ask. He was a judge, a High Court judge, he retains all his judicial knowledge. And indeed he does.

But Heydon is ineligible to be a judge in 2015, under s.72 of the Australian Constitution. Second only to the overwhelming vote to amend the race power in 1967, Australians voted a resounding yes in 1977 to make it compulsory for judges to retire at 70 years of age. Incidentally, that referendum coincided with Sir Garfield Barwick’s tenure as Chief Justice of the High Court and operated prospectively, so Barwick was not subject to the amendment and stayed on until he was 77 years old.

Either way, and despite our Prime Minister’s apparently cavalier attitude to the Australian Constitution, it would be unconstitutional to re-commission Heydon as a judge. So Heydon is not a judge.

Is Commissioner Heydon impartial?

Heydon is however an appointee of the Abbott government, commissioned by letters patent signed by the Governor-General, to investigate “governance and corruption” in trade unions. There are important implications here — in law, and in real life.

The oldest political party in Australia was formed as the workers’ party, the political branch of organised labour, otherwise known as trade unions. This is a perfectly legitimate political activity, and if it were not, the conservative forces would have abolished it by now. Sir Garfield Barwick himself, when Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, advised then-Governor General Kerr on dismissing Gough Whitlam. The immortalised Bob Menzies tried to abolish the Communist Party — and was defeated by referendum.

It is folly to underestimate the irrational anger of conservatives when they do not get their way. It is important, also, to note that referenda are powerful. We should be alert to this as Abbott throws around thought bubbles on marriage equality and recognition of First Peoples.

So. Any attempt to obscure the fact that Heydon is presiding over an investigation into Abbott’s political opponents is sophistry of the worst kind. Our two-party adversarial system is borrowed from Westminster, the English having already imposed the “absolute executive power” model (in the form of Governors), on the true owners of the continent and her islands.

As Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Labor Party in 2015 has a duty to hold the government to account and propose alternative policies, so the people have a choice in a democratic election. Again, this is a conventionally legitimate role in a Westminster system of government. Yet Abbott, ever acting like an Opposition leader, establishes a Royal Commission to look into the governance and corruptionof trade unions.

The terms of reference, as was ever thus, define the findings. That there is corruption among trade unions is not left open to the evidence but is instead a pre-determined finding. (The terms of reference do not, however, point to with whom these corrupt dealings are done. Other trade unions, perhaps?)

In addition to the terms of the reference and the Constitution, the evidence suggests that Heydon is not alert to his own privilege, politics, and ideological beliefs. This is tricky territory. Heydon’s privilege is a matter of fact, shown by his race, sex, family background, and so on. We only have to identify the known empirical facts on inherited privilege such as white male property ownership, income, and power-holding positions from politics to the judiciary, professorships, corporate boards, and prominent media platforms. See for example Dylan Matthews’ analysis of Trump’s wealth and lack of investment skillshere and George Monbiot on Mitt Romney, Gina Rinehart and other perpetuators of “self-made man” mythology here.

What about counsel assisting the trade union royal commission, Jeremy Stoljar QC’s impartiality?

Legal reasoning for non-lawyers

While the social facts are known on how our father’s status is a determinant of our own, (for example, Heydon’s father was a senior public servant under the Menzies government, when Garfield Barwick was Attorney General) assertions about Heydon’s politics or ideological beliefs are not matters of fact.

Heydon has not expressly stated that he is a supporter of the Liberal Party. Rather, he has said that accepting an invitation to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser is not necessarily, in and of itself, indicative of any political support for the Liberal Party.

is how it is done:

The definitional question is important because under the Ebner test it is necessary to see whether the selected definition, if the facts indicate that it is applicable, reveals the characteristic and meshes with the issues which it is said may as a result not be decided impartially.

Heydon accuses the ACTU submission of imprecision [at 75] because counsel variously described the Barwick dinner as a “Liberal Party” fundraiser, function, and event. Had counsel only described the dinner in one way (a Liberal Party function, say) then Heydon could just as easily have replied that the event was more properly described as a lawyers’ professional event than a Liberal Party one, as indeed [at 79-80] he did.

…an address about a topic unrelated to the possible goals of the Party with which the two lawyer groups are associated cannot give rise to an apprehension of bias. In that example there is no proselytizing and no substantial Party activity. In the present case, the additional element must come, if at all, from the suggestion that the Address represents substantial Party activity or involvement in raising funds.

It is a familiar and legitimate technique of legal reasoning to include definitional concerns, for instance when the judge sets out the “material” facts of a case. This defines the parameters within which the case will be decided, what is relevant and what is to be discarded as irrelevant; thereby nudging the “legal reasoning” towards the preferred outcome. The problem is when judges or Commissioners propose that the decisions and reasoning they bring to this mental task is neutral and impartial, or in tune with or inspired by the real world. It isn’t.

For instance, we could try and picture Heydon accepting an invitation to speak at a Greens party fundraiser. Would he? Of course not. But there is no evidence to support that conclusion. The facts are that Heydon “did” accept the Barwick address invitation and has “never” spoken at a Greens fundraiser. Or we could look at it the other way: would a Labor lawyer accept an invitation to address the Sir Garfield Barwick dinner? The answer is no, not unless she was extremely gutsy and prepared to turn up in order to attack everything the audience holds dear. How do we know this? Because, in obvious and flagrant breach of the doctrine of the separation of powers, then-Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Sir Garfield Barwick, advised then-Governor General Sir John Kerr, on the dismissal of Gough Whitlam.

But at law, this does not prove anything about Heydon’s politics. Back in the real world, it is abundantly evident to anyone who is awake that accepting the invitation to speak at a dinner organised by the Sydney lawyers’ arm of the Liberal Party is strongly indicative of where Heydon sits on the ideological spectrum. Some may even say that accepting the invitation, the facts of his elite background, and the many judicial decisions available on the public record, are conclusive: that from these known facts and decisions, we can conclude that Heydon is a deeply conservative old man.

The law and the real world

But this is not how the law thinks. A sociologist could probably be found to agree with this assessment, if they have the courage to upset the establishment. It is in sociology and cultural studies that we find a more accurate understanding of social constructs. Such social constructs include classism, sexism, racism, and homophobia. Or more radically (and more accurately) we might speak of socially constructed systems of oppression that overwhelmingly benefit white male hetero-normative cis-gendered neuro-typical crony capitalists.

The standard response to these claims is that the wealth and comforts of the modern world are products of this system. The answer to this grandiose claim is to identify those groups of human beings who are not in fact the slightest bit comfortable in the modern world; and to ask: if human ingenuity and progress are not for all humans, who is it for? This brings us back to the privileged elites exemplified by men like Dyson Heydon (and Tony Abbott).

These are difficult arguments to put, because the dominant hegemony invisibilises the norm. Few people are raised to recognise that whiteness is privilege. In contrast, many people are trained to recognise that non-whiteness is “disadvantage”. This obscures the human agency involved in creating groups of disadvantaged citizens. We have whole swathes of legislation outlawing discrimination on grounds of sex and race, marital or pregnancy status, sexuality or religion or ethnicity. Someone must be perpetuating all these discriminatory practices.

In this context, it becomes undeniable that white men do not experience sexism and racism, and thus can only understand such harmful behaviours in the abstract. We must then ask whether white men areuniquely ill-equipped to make decisions in this area: questions as to discrimination, for example, or in the same general category, questions of prejudice and bias, or impartiality, objectivity and neutrality. Here is what Heydon found:

I have concluded that it is not the case that a fair-minded lay observer might apprehend that I might not bring an impartial mind to the resolution of the questions which the work of the Commission requires to be decided.

Lawyers love double negatives, which are deployed to obscure the weaker aspects of convoluted legal argument. If you are reading a legal document and spot a triple negative, pay close attention. It is a signal that the claims are on shaky ground.

Heydon has not concluded that the fair-minded layperson might apprehend that he may bring a partial mind to the resolution of the questions which his role as Commissioner requires that he decide. This torturous re-working of his sentence has a point.

It would be a cinch to find a person on the street who thinks Heydon is biased. A non-lawyer who apprehends that Heydon is biased. Who comprehends that even if they themselves do not necessarily think Heydon is biased, there is a public “perception” that Heydon “might” be biased. This is a simple empirical proposition, easily tested by standing on the street and asking people.

But the law does not work this way. It is not established legal practice to ask ordinary people what the ordinary person thinks. Instead, the law creates hypothetical constructs of fair-mindedness and reasonable persons and ordinary bystanders and what-not, all of which are euphemisms for non-lawyers. The law then appoints “extremely senior lawyers” who are immersed in the law and have been for decades – judges and Royal Commissioners – to pronounce on their own neutrality, according to their learned legal reasoning, as applied to what a hypothetical non-lawyer thinks.

The law then reproduces and hands this process down through the ages, for the law is what the law says the law is, “even on the topic of” what a made-up non-lawyer is thinking, inside their non-existent non-lawyer head, but without asking the many non-lawyers available to be asked. This is accepted by other lawyers as normal in terms of legal reasoning, because it is the law. Meanwhile, around the country, actual fair-minded laypersons are tearing at their ears and crying ‘what did he just say? Was that a double or triple negative? How is he assessing his own neutrality?’ And, also echoing down through the ages, “The law is an ass!”

You can follow Ingrid Matthews on Twitter @Imusing.

Tony Abbott … meet Dr Carl Jung – Written by Lyn Bender 3 March 2015

Posted by Winston Close | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 02-03-2015


Tony Abbott … meet Dr Carl Jung

Lyn Bender 85 3

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s bruising psychoanalysis sesstion with Sigmund Freud has left him angry and disappointed, so a second opinion has been demanded. Psychologist Lyn Bender reports.

The Ides of March loom and threaten Tony Abbott. Abbott has bungled his second chance, despite surviving an attempted coup.

His encounter with Sigmund Freud, published in IAwas bruising and a second opinion has been demanded. A Jungian analysis might be a softer, gentler approach given the prime minister is currently suffering a deep crisis.

Carl Gustave Jung was 20 years younger than Sigmund Freud; but they had an intense and fruitful personal and professional relationship for six years. Freud called Jung his “adopted son” and his successor, but they fell out over Jung’s public criticism of Freud’s psychosexual Oedipus Complex. There is overlap in many of their ideas.

Jung went beyond Freud’s view of the unconscious to the collective unconscious which he said was the

“… whole spiritual heritage of mankind’s evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual.”

Jung extended psychoanalytic theory to encompass the mystical, spiritual, symbols and dreams. For an emotionally illiterate man like Tony Abbott, Jungian analysis might be helpful because it analyses the symbolic meaning of dreams and actions. It is a potentially transformational therapy for the wounded psyche.

Considering “Jungian” concepts, what wisdom might Carl Jung offer Tony Abbott as he faces his impending political assassination?

1. The Shadow: The person we choose not to be

This is part of oneself that is regected by the conscious self as unacceptable and denied.

For example, the man who rejects homosexuality as “unnatural”, but may have secret homoerotic dreams and desires.

Dr Jung says...

This Prime Minister’s denied shadow is his vulnerability. This has been reflected in his cruel and punishing policies regarding the poor, the disabled, the aged, Indigenous people, those fleeing war and his remorseless persecution of children.

He consciously despises vulnerability and considers any show of empathy, or compassion a weakness. His view of strength is that of unyielding pugilism. Tony Abbott sides with oppressors. For example the previous Sri Lankan Rajapaksa corrupt regime. Also the rich, ruthless and powerful, such as Rupert Murdoch, and Gina Rinehart.

2. Archetypes: Roles

The archetypes of Tony Abbott are:

  • The father: The authority figure — stern and powerful

Tony Abbott acted in this mode in the security speech. He wanted to appear as a strong authoritative, protector pitted against the evil bogeyman the so-called ISIS “death cult”.

  • The wise elder: Guidance, knowledge and wisdom

The PM gets a total fail in this area.

  • The hero: Champion, defender and rescuer

Abbott tried to appear heroic by spending millions on a futile search for the lost Malaysian plane MH370 — all to no avail.

  • The trickster: Deceiver, liar and troublemaker

Abbott has been successful at causing trouble both internationally and domestically, as well as at lying and deceiving.

  • The Warrior: The fighter, the pugilist, the marauder who takes no prisoners

Abbott’s main mode is the boxer in the ring.


I am a fighter. I beat Kevin Rudd. I beat Julia Gillard. I can beat Bill Shorten”  

Dr Jung says...

Tony Abbott is captivated by the warrior archetype, but when cornered, his default position is to put up his dukes. He uses the language of war and of the punk fighter, threatening to  “shirtfront“ Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. He has suffered much mockery. He feels small inside — the little man trying to be a giant. Taking on the Russian bear, he is a pussycat hissing and scratching. Wanting to appear strong, he is left looking weak.

His denied sense of insignificance is revealed in his inflated battle imagery. Unable to gain the confidence and allegiance of an army, he battles single-handedly. Opposing U.S. President Obama’s plans to tackle climate change, he tried and failed to form an alliance against climate action. Abbott now seems weird and odd in his Canutian struggle war against climate change action.


Abbott denies his own aging and fails to develop into the archetype of wiser older man. He seeks to project an image of the ever-youthful surfer, runner and bike rider, who does physical workouts with the troops. “If I can’t fight with you, at least I can sweat with you.”

After a slight rise in the polls – like a man who has ingested a drug to restore temporary potency – he declares: “I am feeling young and vigorous … [at] the height of my powers.”

3. The malnourished anima

All humans have maleness (animus) and femaleness (anima) in their psyche. Put simply, the male and female energies in each of us need to be expressed and balanced. Women rate the PM poorly on all fronts.

Dr Jung says...

Tony Abbott reveals an impoverished expression of the female self or anima. He appointed only one woman – later increased to two – into his cabinet. He has consistently expressed confining constricting views of women as lesser than men, and mere housewives, concerned about ironing and the household budget; rather than the fate of the planet.

Exhibiting an exaggeratedly masculine personality, Tony Abbott’s macho stance enrages many women and Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech accurately describes his debased “feminine side”.


4. The terror

Tony Abbott declares ISIS a “death cult” and an existential threat to Australia. He then stuns experts by proposing that Australia invade Iraq on its own and take on ISIS without any allied support. He also proposes sending police and military personnel into the middle of a civil war in Ukraine to secure a crash site. Why is he so reckless and gung ho?

Dr Jung says...

Abbott’s outraged rhetoric reveals his terror as he declares that the world is facing: “a new dark age”. Abbott is in his own ominous dark age and terrified. Having shouted in Parliament, about a loss of confidence in Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs; he wants to sack her and replace her with a man who is on his side.  He believes that women in power cannot be trusted. But it is the people who have lost confidence and trust in him. Abbott cannot sack the people; but they can discharge him and look set to do so.

I feel “young and vigorous” at the “height of my powers” he may have announced, teetering on the edge of the abyss, but Abbott is ageing, while not attaining wisdom. His “terror” is of being tossed on the scrap heap, so he stands surrounded by flags and the Commonwealth police.


5. The fall

Tony Abbott stands on the brink, one misstep away from total humiliation — being deposed in his first term, even worse than the despised woman who humilated him with defeat in 2010 and through the world famous Misogyny Speech in 2012. Yet his ploughs on, calling any comment on his likely decline as “Canberra insider gossip”.

Dr Jung says...

Tony Abbott is a man on the brink of a gigantic fall. His ego and its inflation, has now unleashed a vast unstoppable crisis. He is the failed leader, exaggerated warrior and failed hero, raging against his enemies, denying defeat and refusing to surrender. His unyielding ebullience has alienated many and hastened his downfall. His ancient battle heroics have been a battle within himself. Installed by opportunists, who exhibit no loyalty in his final hour, he is shooting down his own army. He cannot win this battle, which is directed outwards, but reflects his inner turmoil. He denies all guilt, but frequently alludes to his Catholic faith, which requires confession. Failing to gain wisdom, he remains an immature conflicted soul.

This is his dark night of the soul; that will see him completely forsaken; but may provide an opportunity to embark upon reflection and dream analysis. Behind his futile mask and thin false persona, who is Tony Abbott? That is the question, asked by many — including Leigh Sales.

Tony Abbott is racked with internal conflicts that are wreaking havoc externally. He must retire from politics swiftly, for his own sake his own mental health and that of the nation.

But beware also those who surround him, many of whom share his unbalanced, thoughtless, ruthless worldview.


You can follow Lyn Bender on Twitter @lynestel.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License


Posted by Winston Close | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 17-02-2015


Are the TPP and TiSA the beginning of the globalisation of health care?

“It’s hard not feel that we are being attacked at from all angles with corporations eying off developing and developed countries public health services for profit. With an Australian government seemingly hell bent on dismantling its Medicare system with outsourcing payments while introducing co-payments, it’s looking clearer now as to what the current Australian government has planned” writes Mel Mac.

I recently wrote about the TPP and now I think it’s time that we take a look at the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). It’s a services-only free trade agreement (FTA) that began in 2012 with exploratory discussions between Australia, US and the European Union (EU) for a year and with formal discussions beginning in early 2013. Australia, US and the EU take it in turns to chair the negotiations in Geneva. The services sector accounts for around 70% of Australia’s economic activity and accounts for around 17% of Australia’s total exports. Current countries negotiating the TiSA are Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, The European Union (representing its 28 Member States), Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States. These countries also account for around 70% of global trade in services. China and Uruguay have expressed interest but have yet to be invited, it’s also worth mentioning that the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) bloc have not been invited.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) came into effect in April 1994, and involves all WTO members. The TiSA’s aim is to be compatible with GATS yet, set a new standard in services trade that covers all service sectors including health and public services; financial services; ICT services (including telecommunications and e-commerce); professional services; maritime transport services; air transport services; competitive delivery services; energy services; temporary entry of business persons; government procurement; and new rules on domestic regulation to ensure regulatory settings do not operate as a barrier to trade in services. The discussions are held behind closed doors as per other trade agreements, Wikileaks managed to leak draft text from the April 2014 round of discussions involving further deregulation of global financial services markets, despite the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules to assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, allowing the uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.

The Australian government has a web page for it’s involvement in TiSA and in the sixth April/May round that Australia also chaired, more than 140 negotiators and sector-specific government experts attended. There were advanced discussions in all areas of the negotiations, including on new and enhanced disciplines (trade rules) for financial services, domestic regulation and transparency, e-commerce and telecommunications, and maritime transport. TiSA parties also agreed to move to a negotiating text for air transport and market access negotiations also continued. The Global Services Coalition or “Team TiSA” organised a substantial industry presence in the margins of the negotiations and as the name suggests is pro the TiSA for the US. Trading in services has grown at a faster pace than trading in goods since the 1980s. The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) estimates that in 2013 global services exports reached $4.7 trillion and grew at an annual rate of 5%.  Overall, the services trade has grown by 95% since 2000. World Bank research shows that the services sector has become the dominant driver of economic growth in developing countries, delivering both GDP growth and poverty reduction.  In 2011, the services sector accounted for a massive 49% of GDP in low income countries and 47% in least developed countries. Team TiSA has every right to be cheering for it as it would benefit the US greatly. The US is the world’s largest single-country exporter and importer of services and they generate more than 75% of their national economic output. In 2013 the US exported over $681bn in services, resulting in a $231 billion surplus. Services exports in 2013 grew by $31.8 bn and services imports in 2013 grew by $12.9bn.

Australia chaired the ninth round early last December and this time it was attended by more than 200 negotiators and sector-specific government experts. Good progress was made in advancing the enhanced disciplines (trade rules) for e-commerce and telecommunications, domestic regulation and transparency, financial services, temporary entry of business persons, professional services, maritime and air transport services and delivery services. There was also further discussion of proposals on government procurement, environmental and energy services, and the facilitation of patient mobility. Parties reported on progress in bilateral market access discussions held since the September round and committed to advance these further in 2015. Besides the vagueness and secretiveness above and what it all means for every day Australians, one thing leaps out and that is the facilitation of patient mobility. Luckily another leak was sprung, the proposal was titled ‘A concept paper on health care services within TISA Negotiations’ and it states there is ‘huge untapped potential for the globalisation of healthcare services’ mainly because ‘health care services is (sic) funded and provided by state or welfare organisations and is of virtually no interest for foreign competitors due to lack of market-orientated scope for activity’. It was allegedly a proposal put forward by Turkey, and was discussed by TiSA members in the September round of discussions. And there are justifiable fears that they want to commodify health services globally as well as to promote “medical tourism” for patients.

Experts, such as Dr Odile Frank of Public Services International (PSI) say, ‘The proposal would raise health care costs in developing countries and lower quality in developed countries in Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere’. Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, also commented that ‘Health is a human right and is not for sale or for trade. The health system exists to keep our families safe and healthy, not to ensure the profits of large corporations’. The proposal could see patients being treated in other TiSA countries for reasons such as long waiting times in their home country or a lack of expertise for specific medical problems. The patients’s costs would need to be reimbursed through their own countries social security system, private insurance coverage or other healthcare arrangements.

The beneficiaries of this are the large health corporations and insurance companies, the ones actually behind the negotiations, that would benefit from an approximate $USD 6 trillion business. Public services are designed to provide vital social and economic necessities such as health care and education affordably, universally and on the basis of need. They exist because markets can’t produce these outcomes. Furthermore, public services are fundamental to ensuring fair competition for business, and they provide effective regulation to avoid environmental, social and economic disasters, such as the GFC and global warming. Even the most die-hard supporters of FTA’s admit that there are winners and losers.

New South Wales (NSW) Australia, Nurses and Midwives’ Association organiser Michael Whaites said: “Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have been saying that healthcare expenditure is unsustainable, but Trade Minister Andrew Robb is quietly engaged in negotiations that could potentially see scarce healthcare dollars going overseas”, and that “You can ask whether the government is working in a co-ordinated manner, and indeed what is their real intention on the future of Medicare?” Professor Jane Kelsey, an expert on trade in services at the University of Auckland, warns that health-service-exporting countries such as Australia could find qualified staff being diverted to health export services “that often have better pay and facilities, eroding the personnel base for public facilities and perpetuating inequalities in the health care system”. Education and training investments could also be diverted “to benefit foreign healthcare users, rather than local citizens and taxpayers”.

In August 2014 the Australian Health Department called for expressions of interest from private players interested in taking over the payments of $29bn each year in health and pharmaceutical benefits currently being managed by the Human Services. Human Services Minister Marise Payne said much of the Department of Human Services (DHS) IT infrastructure for processing the payments was old and needed to be replaced and that the private sector might have cheaper solutions. The government claims it is merely testing the market with an initial expression of Interest process, not via cost analysis or efficiencies already provided. Australia Post stuck it’s hand up from the get go and other Australian corporations that are keen are – Eftpos and Stellar (Telstra) with overseas companies being Oracle, Fuji-Xerox, SAP, Accenture and Serco.

It’s hard not feel that we are being attacked at from all angles with corporations eying off developing and developed countries public health services for profit. With an Australian government seemingly hell bent on dismantling its Medicare system with outsourcing payments while introducing co-payments, it’s looking clearer now as to what the current Australian government has planned. The rise of corporations and their lust for profits no matter what the cost is, has to stop. Governments must get out of bed with them and understand that they don’t know best and an even mix of private and government is required sometimes, but not all of the time. The people elect governments to govern and make decisions, we do not elect corporations. Take some advice from them but if you give them an inch they will take a mile as we have been seeing in recent years. Greed is worming it’s way in globally under the guise of competition and job creation. I find this very hard to believe for your average person, for the corporations yes, they keep getting richer and the equality gap wider. Low income countries delivering GDP growth and poverty reduction will be hardest hit and that’s not fair with many only just recovering from the GFC. The US has the most to benefit from this and all other FTA’s, this also needs to stop, they aren’t the biggest power anymore and even if they were why should they get all of the advantages? People over profits, after all you can’t make profits without us and there’s no need to ruin everyone globally once again for it.

This article was originally published on Political Omniscience as Corporations want to profit from global health with TiSA and the TPP.


Posted by Winston Close | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 16-02-2015


Welcome to the (political) asylum.


  1. noun: refuge, sanctuary, shelter, safety, protection, security, immunity;

the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee.

“she applied for asylum and was granted refugee status”

“we provide asylum for those too ill to care for themselves”

“he appealed for political asylum”

  1. dated:

an institution offering shelter and support to people who are mentally ill.


After watching last night’s Q&A I got an unexpected text from a friend.

“The numbers are only worse under Labor for children in detention because Labor let more refugees in, right? Not that it is defendable” the message read.

I had to give this some thought…

Yes I suppose there were more ‘irregular entries’ from 2008 onward than there had been during the Howard years. By 2008 we were really just starting to feel the shockwaves of a series of genocides in which Australia had been complicit. The number of boat arrivals increased under Labor, and with it the number of children in detention. And I suppose a veritable tsunami of new boat arrivals from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka also came as a supply-boom for a fledgling private prison industry.

Australia has not dealt properly with refugees since the 1970’s.

The Fraser government achieved humanitarian outcomes for tens of thousands of refugees from indo-china, in accordance with our obligations under international law. Fraser, now 84, has cut ties with his former political party and now champions the cause of refugee advocacy. He was also the man behind the coup that took down the Australia’s first and only autonomous government. Go figure. I’d take Fraser for PM over any of the current crop (except perhaps Wilkie or Wong.)

Stewart West, another octogenarian, served as Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs under Hawke. I heard West speak at rally last year. He spoke passionately, recalling anecdotes of his work abroad, particularly in central and south America. What echoes in my minds ear still are these words: “In my day we didn’t have a problem with refugees arriving by boat. We flew them here.” West resigned shortly after Hawke introduced his policy of mandatory detention for unauthorised arrivals. A man of integrity.

Hawke brought in mandatory detention. Keating Privatised it. Howard offshored it. Rudd and Gillard tried to scale it back, proposing to settle clients in “third countries”. Abbott opposed this because it was Labor’s idea, and once in power imposed his final solution to the refugee problem by turning back the boats. This instantly improved his polling, which was dutifully reported in the Murdoch press and scored him countless cheap points among the brainwashed and brainless masses.

One small problem with Abbott’s strategy is that according to every legal entity, everywhere, seeking asylum is a human right, and refoulement is illegal.

Australia now stands in breach of countless articles of international law, and we haven’t actually done anything to fix the problem. We’ve done nothing to address the plight of undocumented, homeless, stateless people fleeing tyranny and persecution. What Abbott has done is given billions of taxpayer dollars to corporate thugs and enlisted the armed forces by executive order to make this someone else’s problem.

Meanwhile we have a ‘budget emergency’. I’m only crying because it hurts to laugh.

The boats have stopped coming now, or so we’re told, so I guess what we do with the rest of the irregulars in detention now is a matter for the Liberal party and their business interests to decide. (Tony Shepherd, President of the Business Council of Australia, is the former chairman of Transfield which operates the facility at Manus Island, a U.S. styled private prison. Serco and G4S have also held lucrative government tenders at various times to operate detention facilities, along with Greg Sheppard, who runs the private security firm Wilson Protective Services PNG Ltd. All Liberal Party donors.)

The reaction to the human rights commission’s report into the forgotten children comes as no surprise. Investment by successive governments has boosted supply in a market which now has weakeneing demand. I imagine Abbott at this moment finds himself in quite a quandary. Clearly he hasn’t thought the game through; else he would have announced something by now. My guess is he probably never thought he’d get this far.

I suppose a government so committed to old world ideas about what a ‘family unit’ looks like would find the problem even more perplexing. There are whole families in detention, we are told. In the example reluctantly proffered by Mr Turnbull the father is a suspected security risk, but his wife and 3 kids refuse to leave detention without him. I shudder to think what a pallid chord the thought of broken families must strike on Cory Bernardi and Eric Abetz’ god-fearing heart strings. One conservative maggot troll tweeted something along the lines of “shame on these unworthy refugees for using their children as bargaining chips.”

Meanwhile the same government which refused to spend $500m to guarantee the future of car manufacturing in Australia and save 100 000 jobs (sorry to labour the point), are happy to hand over $2bn to the private prison industry, which benefits the rest of us how, exactly? And where does Labor stand on this? Or is this another matter of ‘national security’ which has bi-partisan support?

I cringe at the thought.


Posted by Winston Close | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 19-10-2014




Political Reality of Australia, Social & Environmental Issues

Posted by Winston Close | Posted in POLITICAL, ECOLOGICAL,ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL ISSUES, Uncategorized | Posted on 16-12-2013

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These are the links to my Blogs :







About the Australian Labor Party and its platform and activities. The party that makes policies to benefit all Australians not a select few.


About the downfalls of having a Conservative Government. Abbott Government is dismantling the fabric of society in Australia by not governing for all Australians.


About the insidious activities of Rupert Murdoch worldwide. By advancing Conservatism and interfering in the democratic processes everywhere.


About Democratising the Australian Labor Party


Articles about Climate Change, Ecology and Environmental Issues


About the Abbott and Co Neo  Fascism,

Conservative movement in Australia and in the World.


About Human Rights issues including Asylum Seekers


About the blunders and incompetence of Abbott the snafu PM


The inhuman decisions that this Treasurer takes.

His unparalleled incompetence.


The ever depressing Australian Treasurer who loves to frighten Australians

, talk down our economy and mislead us.


How the Abbott and Co Government want to impose their views and secret agenda on Australian Education.

The need to protect an  inclusive education for all Australian Children in a secular system.


About the Liberal Party and Corporations Corruption and misbehaving.


How the Abbott Government has become the most prolific producer of lies and deception in Australia’s history.


About the growing opposition and discontent shown by Australians to

the Abbott Government.




Economy, social and environmental issues



about issues affecting middle class, low income earners, employment security, pensioners

and Honouring great Aussies.
























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