Negative Gearing and Capital Gains: Tax Subsidies for the Landlord Class


As the Australian Federal Election approaches, it is clear that negative gearing on property is destined to become a major issue. In February, the opposition Australian Labor Party announced that negative gearing would only be allowed on the construction of new homes, following some push from that party's left faction. With support from the real estate industry announced (following prior warnings), the Liberal-National Party government has opposed the plan. In a recent interview, the Prime Minister claimed to understand supply and demand in the property market - which is why he didn't need empirical evidence for his claims. Recently he has displayed his understanding even further:

"What they're saying is warning that Bill Shorten's reckless and dangerous experiment with the largest asset class in Australia will drive down home values and drive up rents," Mr Turnbull said.

Animal Welfare Issues and the Federal Election

Unlike many other political groups, the Isocracy Network has always held animal welfare issues as a priority (cf., http://isocracy.org/plan).

Come hear and question our special guest speaker, the Victorian Convener for the Animal Justice Party of Australia, Bruce Poon, discuss animal welfare and rights issues, the AJP, the Federal election and what you can do to give a voice to the voiceless.

Markets for Freedom Rather Than Free Markets

There is a continuing, although increasingly not very persuasive, myth perpetuated by contemporary neoliberals that market relations are the best way to decide allocation of resources in all circumstances. In some cases of course they are correct, and intuitively people see some sense in this. After who, who is the best person to decide what food they should eat, what clothes they should wear, or what music they should listen to? Nearly all people would decide that they are the best person to make such a choice. But it doesn't apply to all markets and all situations.

Submission of the Isocracy Network to the Joint Standing Committee on the Trans Pacific Partnership

Introduction

A Joint Standing Committee on Treaties be appointed to inquire into and report on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) ("the Treaty") between the Government of Australia and the Governments of: Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America and Vietnam, associated side letters and proposed Australian notification on tobacco control measures. The first chapter of the Treaty provides for parties and definitions.

The following submission is made by The Isocracy Network, an incorporated association in the state of Victoria (A0054881M) ("the Association"). The submission was written by Lev Lafayette with contributions from Dean Edwards, Daye Gang, and Steve Spirgis.

As a matter of general principle, the Association supports the principles of free trade and comparative advantage, supporting the elimination of tariffs, the facilitation of supply trades, enhancing conservation, and raising living standards [1]. At points where conflicts occur, priority must be given to the latter points of raising living standards and enhancing conservation. To do otherwise would to place ideal positions above concrete reality. We urge the committee to expressly acknowledge this.

The Association is also in favour of public debate and transparency, especially in the formulation of public policy of such an enormous importance. The twelve countries involved a collective population of approximately 800 million and is currently responsible for 40% of world trade. The introduction of the Treaty can be in no way described as having satisfied the requirements of the formulation of public opinion. That in itself is sufficient reason for the Treaty to be deferred.

Impediments to Peace in Syria


The US and Russia have agreed to terms in furtherance of a partial ceasefire in Syria. This could be an important step to bring peace to Syria, but it leaves huge gaps which allow for impunity among the actors currently inflaming the conflict.

(Joint Statement)
1. To take part in the cessation of hostilities, armed opposition groups will confirm – to the United States of America or the Russian Federation, who will attest such confirmations to one another as co-chairs of the ISSG by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26 2016 – their commitment to and acceptance of the following terms:
To full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously on December 18, 2015, ‑ including the readiness to participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiation process;

A Syrian Refugee Story: Qassem Al Salamat, in Istanbul


Breaking news has been released that the world powers have declared a "cessation of hostilities", reports of some 11.5% of population have been killed or injured, with over six million displaced persons and refugees.

There are over two and half million refugees in Turkey. Many have become 'stateless persons'. They are unable to renew their Syrian passports which expire as they are seeking asylum.

One such person is Qassem Al Salamat, in Istanbul. This is his story.


Asylum Seekers to Australia : A New National Policy

Outrage has spread in recent days with the High Court decision to send babies born in Australia to the Nauru detention centre.

Paediatricians are facing potential jail sentences for reporting the mental condition of young children being sent to the centre after alleged sexual assaults, with even onshore detention centres creating the worst mental health problems doctors have seen.

Late last year over six hundred asylum seekers in detention in Nauru made a request to the Prime Minister to allow them to commit suicide.

Almost a thousand academics, experts on child psychology, human rights, public policy and the law, from universities across the country have appealed to the government to release children held in detention.

Federal MP Tanya Plibersek has correctly described Australian politics around asylum seekers to be "nothing less than toxic".

There has to be a better way; and there is.

The following proposed national policy has been produced by Damien Kingsbury, Professor of International Politics, Deakin University, with assistance from Daye Gang, Lev Lafayette, and Anthony Leong. It will eventually require political support and the political will from the major parties. But it will begin with the concerted effort of people who are sickened by how asylum seekers have been treated for political gain.

Sedition, Subversion, Sabotage: A Long-War Strategy for the Left


As the viciousness of capitalism engulfs ever more of us, our yearnings for change are approaching desperation. The system's current leader, Barack Obama, has shown us that the only change we can believe in is what we ourselves create.

To do that, we need to know what is possible in our times and what isn't. The bitter probability is that none of us will see a society in which we'd actually want to live. Even the youngest of us will most likely have to endure an increasingly unpleasant form of capitalism. Despite its recurring crises, this system is still too strong, too adaptable, and has too many supporters in all classes for it to be overthrown any time soon. We're probably not going to be the ones to create a new society.

But we can now lay the groundwork for that, first by exposing the hoax that liberal reforms will lead to basic changes. People need to see that the purpose of liberalism is to defuse discontent with promises of the future and thus prevent mass opposition from coalescing. It diverts potentially revolutionary energy into superficial dead ends. Bernie Sanders' "long game" campaign is really only a game similar to that of his reformist predecessor, Dennis Kucinich, designed to keep us in the "big tent" of the Democratic Party. Capitalism, although resilient, is willing to change only in ways that shore it up, so before anything truly different can be built, we have to bring it down.

On the Continuing Prevalence of Racism

Invasion Day ‘Every miserable fool,’ wrote Arthur Schopenhauer, expressing a great truth not only about nationalism but racism as well, ‘who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.’[1] For those who had nothing else going for them other than the false pride of things they had no say in, such as the color of their skin and the geographical location in which they were born, the two were natural refuges, and it was equally natural that they went together. Thus the observation regarding the American variety of nationalism from Toni Morrison to the effect that, ‘in this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.’

Given such truisms, one might be forgiven for wondering however naively if perhaps, in light of recent major atrocities of history like the Holocaust and continuing catastrophes like the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, such revolting specters of human ignorance and hate might not inspire significantly less hateful and ignoble attitudes and conduct amongst the rest. The history of human societies, soaked in blood and the misery of countless anonymous millions lost to the false pride of nation and ethnicity, would certainly strongly indicate the appropriateness of such a move far more broadly.

Race in Law and Legal Practice

Lawry Love image
The Australian conception of race in part grounds its conception of the law, even in 2015. For example, the medical marijuana debate silences the traumas of Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people who are disproportionately vulnerable to, and disproportionately targeted by police for, recreational drug use. The CALD label moreover homogenises the distinct needs of white non-English-speaking background people on the one hand and people of colour on the other. As a result, it homogenises the legal challenges created and contextualised by xenophobia and racism respectively.

Public personages today even imply that 40% of Australians are 'multicultural' (taken from Australian Bureau of Statistics figures) given they have one or more grandparent or parent born overseas, or themselves were born overseas. This percentage obviously includes large numbers of British, German, Italian, and Greek migrants, who are sociologically white in 2015, if perhaps they were not before. White Australian first, second and third generation migrants are not the subject of racism, albeit they may suffer from xenophobia, colourism, misdirected bigotry and classism. This muddies the waters even further: to claim multiculturalism on the basis of figures inflated by white immigrant Australians dilutes more urgent discussions specifically about race, and not ethnicity or migration recency.

Race is convenient to talk about, but not convenient to be embroiled in.

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