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Monday 31st March 1997

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Issues - timed calls for Internet use.


Australian Prime Minister John Howard got to meet the US Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich and his wife Marianne in Shanghai yesterday.

Earlier the group had attended an Easter service during which the Gingrich's were shown wearing headphones - probably so that they could have the Chinese service translated into English but what ever it was it looked a trifle silly and ever so kitch.

Howard, speaking in Shaghai reiterated Australia's support for a One China policy - it is a pity he cannot do the same at home. The One China policy includes a clause that the Taiwanese Government is illegitimate and that the island should be ruled by the mainland.

Despite pressure Howard refused to be drawn into discussion regarding human rights issues - such as the jailing of Chinese-Australian businessman James Peng.

What he did want to talk about however was the less controversial stuff like lowering of import tariffs on car parts by the year 2010. "I want to see a motor manufacturing capacity in Australia," he said. "We are not going to take a sort of slash and burn approach to tariff policy."

What I found interesting was that he had attended a dinner and met earlier in the week with a select number of Australian businessmen which included none other than Rupert's son, Lachlan Murdoch (head honcho of Australia's News Limited).

In light of events that are currently taking place in Australia (see Global Gripe of the day below) the sickening courtship between a select super-rich clique and our leading politicians is a plague on our society more debilitating that an unstoppable outbreak of polio.


Queensland State Premier Rob Borbidge said yesterday that it was time for the "madness" generated by the native title debate to be finally and decisively to be brought under control.

"Then, perhaps, the country can finally foresake the succession of loopy and superficial panaceas that have passed for Aboriginal policy for so long and concentrate on policies that can deliver better health, better education, better job opportunities and genuine reconciliation," he said.

Hayden, who had written to the Premier some days ago, should be listened to by conservative political leaders Borbidge said. In his letter Hayden had said that it was as "clear as a pike staff" that the Keating Labor Government believed that with the Native Title Act it had envoked legislation that extinguished native title on pastoral leases.

Borbidge went on to say that the politically correct minority were running the show - an event which had to be stopped in its tracks.

"Anyone who thinks that a Wik response which acknowledged that native title can co-exist with pastoral leases is the way to appease guilt, or the Aboriginal people, in an appropriate way is living in cloud cookoo land," Borbidge said.

"Any halfway house will simply draw all the opprobrium a small minority can muster and that will be considerable whatever the outcome, without delivering the goods to the majority.

"Half baked approaches would also be fatal to the reconciliation process and the social fabric right across rural and regional Australia for a long time to come, and would be a potentially fatal blow to conservative politics throughout that vast and decisive constituency, also for a long time to come."

Well there is one obvious place for Pauline Hanson to launch her One Nation party. I can't think of many farmers who would not vote for her in the current climate.

While all these dinky-di Australian's are having a horror Easter as more and more land claims are placed on large tracts of pastoral land the "looney-tune" Labor politicians can find nothing better to do than to embark in the cut and thrust action of dessimating one treacherous colleague in the Senate - Mal Colston. To make matters worse their bureaucratic advisors, who actually run the country, are plagued (like it or not) with the attentions of the Packer/Murdoch lobbyists who walk the halls of Canberra like well seasoned politicians - but with more financial clout.

Native title is obviously not as important an issue as timed local calls - now I wonder why?

No wonder Australia is not run on behalf of the mainstream population, no wonder that the politically correct hold such sway while majoring in minors, no wonder Australia is following the path of the US into a disperate society where the gap between rich and poor is becoming a chasm, no wonder Packer's fortune has apparently tripled since 1990....

Extensive political commentary and links can be found on Palmer's Australian Politics page.


News Limited shares fell below Au$6 late last week - a fact which has not been reported on in the News Limited papers, but my prediction a few days ago appears to be coming true.

If the big spending Murdoch is being brought to heel by his preferential shareholders just imagine what a fall in Wall Street will do - and Wall Street fell 140 points after the Australian Stock Exchange closed for the long weekend.

Signs that the US economy is overheating led to an official 0.25% interest rise last week which precipitated in the market's fall.


Some sad statistics about Mark Taylor's performance in the Australian cricket team: In the last nine one day matches he has not scored more than 29 runs. When asked about his slump in performance following the one day match he played down the importance of the series and his form saying, "It doesn't matter what happens with this one-day series as far as I am concerned."

Now isn't that a remarkable thing for an Australian captain to say about an international series in which he is supposed to be representing his country?

He went on to say, "I could make five hundreds here and people could say I am playing well in one-day cricket. But come Edgbason's first Test in England people will still say Mark Taylor needs to make runs.

"These are free games to me. I am going out to just try and have a bit of a go and enjoy it because I know when it comes to the first Test in England I will be under the microscope again."

WRONG - you already are and you should be outta there!

Global Gripe of the day:

Who the hell is running this country?

A few days ago we wrote about the "seven sisters" a seemingly fictional super financial power who ruled over Australia.

Now, when you read between the lines you get a sickening feeling in your stomach that perhaps there is more than just merit in the fallacies. Let us look at the Telstra saga. Facts - not fiction.

Here is a letter to Internet Service Providers regarding that decision:

Dear Customer,

To those of you who contacted and tried to lobby the untimed local call issue with the Government and Telstra, I thank you. Unfortunately, we lost in Canberra. The vote to accept an amendment which would have guaranteed untimed local data calls for business was 32 -all, which in politics means it does not get accepted. Hence, from July 1, Telstra will be able to charge all businesses a timed-call rate for local data calls like Internet access and faxes. This will not be an option - it will be mandatory.

Also there is still the issue of Telstra charging us Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for receiving data calls. In this case the charge could be $5 to $13 per hour.

How this all happened after Alston specifically guaranteed it wouldn't is a lesson for all of us in political backhandedness. Beware Alston's latest statement that the receiver-only charges will not happen if he can help it, too. It may also be a lie.

We believe that these developments place all ISPs and Internet users in a very vulnerable position in which Telstra can use predatory charging to take over the Internet business in Australia.

Telstra's argument has always been that the Internet is causing undue congestion in the telephone network and that they must recoup the costs. All reports of this nature have been authoritatively debunked. Even the government Senate Committee did not feel the evidence Telstra presented to it stood up to scrutiny. In the US, similar reports have been scientifically disproven. The simple fact is that Telstra charges us a business-rate on all our incoming lines. They could use some of that huge cashflow to upgrade their exchanges, but they won't. Hence the argument for timed calls.

What can you do?

You can write to your local member demanding that the bill be repealed pending further investigation, or that the untimed call obligation be extended to business lines.

You can visit and sign a petition.

You can call customer complaints at Telstra on 1800 011 333 and demand a written explanation of the timed call charges.

You can switch all your long distance and mobile services to Optus or Vodafone. When asked for a reason by Telstra, quote 'timed data calls'.

You can write to the newspapers. Here are some contact details:

Letters to the Editor
The Australian
The Editor

Letters to the Editor
Sydney Morning Herald
The Editor

We at YOUR ISP are dedicated to preserving your rights to affordable Internet access - and we'll fight hard against Telstra destroying our livelihood. With your help, we can make a big impact on them - the last thing they want before a share float is bad publicity - so let's give them heaps of it!

Cheers and Happy Easter all

Now let's stick with the facts - who does this decision by the government to a) sell Telstra and b) to bring in timed calls on data transmission benefit most?

It certainly isn't the current shareholders in Telstra - the Australian people. Why sell the communications carrier when we are about to explode into the information age using its services like never before?

Timed calls will have only two guaranteed outcomes - a) creating an information poor society who cannot afford to let their children participate in the new age because of timed calls and b) create enormous wealth for whoever lands up owning Telstra in the future.

You don't have to look far to see how the Packer's and the Murdoch's take each other on in an enormous display of wealth to win the financial spoils in minor niche markets - look at Super League as just one public example.

You don't have to walk far in Canberra to meet Packer's and Murdoch's professional lobbyists such as, ex-politicians, ex-senior bureaucrats and the like who have just one job - to get in the ear of the "people who matter" - in obscure little committees in the corridors of power. And what a cake walk it is - while these decision makers are playing the tune of the lobbyists the politicians are out there playing "kick me over" against other political opponents or seeking out a "photo opportunity" to make them look good in the eyes of the Australian public.

So by the time a Bill like the one on "Timed Local Calls" goes before the Senate the actions of these so-called representatives of the people are little more than an occasion to "put up one's hand at the appropriate moment" after having been advised by the bureaucrats who form part of the chain which is Canberra.

You don't have to be Einstein to conclude that the Packer's and the Murdoch's of the world are rallying their financial resources so that they can take away the prize that currently belongs to the Australian public, Telstra, and to soak it up into their financial world where the poor will be forgotten and get poorer while paying high taxes and these financial misfits of our society will continue to use their media power to cover up their sins.....

Question though, where does Blount fit in?

and finally, can the coming dark age be prevented?

What do you think about the Senate's move?

Personal trivia, from the global office:

Another beautiful day in paradise.

I won't say have a good one, because under the circumstance how can we today?

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