Bundaberg’s Hidden Slave Trade

Bundaberg’s Hidden Slave Trade

From the Brisbane Times:

Hidden under an old cane plantation outside the Queensland sugar city of Bundaberg lies an awful secret.

Beyond the weeping fig trees the bodies of 29 South Sea Islanders are buried in an unmarked grave.

(Slavery buried in Qld mass grave: Islanders)

They were called “Kanakas“. Growing up in Bundy I was taught that they were “workers”. Wikipedia claims “Of the more than 60,000 Islanders recruited from 1863, the majority were to be “repatriated” (that is, deported) by the Australian Government between 1906-08 under the Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901 legislation prompted by the White Australia policy.”

Or, as the above story suggests, just murdered and thrown into mass graves.


No Illusions Podcast #54 – Nicholas Gruen on Aussie Auto Industry Bailouts

No Illusions Podcast #54 – Nicholas Gruen on Aussie Auto Industry Bailouts

Australia is one of only a few countries in the world that has the facilities to design and manufacture a car from digging the raw materials out of the ground to dealer domestic sale. And in the 1970s Australia’s auto industry was ranked 10th place in the World but today? We are in 28th place.

Take this one example – The Ford Falcon, which has been manufactured since 1960 and is currently on life support. Sales last year were 74% less than its best year ever, which was in 2003.

Ford, which has about 3000 employees in Australia, has received an estimated $1 billion in government subsidies since 2000 in an effort to prop up an industry in decline.

The Labor government has committed $5.4 billion for car making from 2008 to 2020.

Meanwhile – the number of small businesses that went bankrupt last double increased by 48% – and none of them received government handouts. Why? My guess is because there aren’t any votes in it.

To explain why the government is spending billions of our dollars to prop up foreign-owned companies, I’m very pleased to be joined today on Skype, by Nicholas Gruen, all the way from San Francisco, who is a prominent Australian economist, the CEO of Lateral Economics, the Chairman of Peach Financial, the Australian Centre for Social Innovation and Online Opinion, the founding chairman of the Aussie start-up Kaggle, and a board member of Innovation Australia.

You can follow Nicholas on Twitter and check out his new start-up HealthKit.



Space MusicDyme Def
“Get Down” (mp3)
from “Space Music”
(Soul Gorilla Monopoly (SGM))

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

The Economic Benefit Of Refugees

The Economic Benefit Of Refugees

It has long been my intuition that a country like Australia should welcome refugees – not fear them. I guess this feeling in part comes from my first-hand experiences with immigrants I’ve known over my life, people who came from poverty-stricken countries with political instability and ended up some of the hardest-working, most appreciative Australian’s I’ve ever met. Not only do first generation immigrants work hard, but their children, raised in Australian schools, often with accents broader than my own, tend to grow up with an appreciation of the opportunity Australia represents, continually reinforced by their parents with stories of the “old country”, that is stronger than those of us whose ancestors moved here 100 years or more ago (my mother’s ancestors came to Australia in 1912, from Poland and Britain, my father moved here from Scotland as a “Ten Pound Pom” in the late 60’s).

So today I read some of a document published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in June 2011 – “A Significant Contribution: the Economic, Social and Civic Contributions of First and Second Generation Humanitarian Entrants – that seems to confirm my intuition.

This research examines what are the economic, social and civic contributions to Australia of first and second generation Humanitarian Program entrants by the analysis of Census data, interviews with families and in-depth discussions with organisations such as employment, education and refugee service providers.

In the introduction summary to the report, they state:

The research found the overwhelming picture, when one takes the longer term perspective of changes over the working lifetime of Humanitarian Program entrants and their children, is one of considerable achievement and contribution.

The Humanitarian Program yields a demographic dividend because of a low rate of settler loss, relatively high fertility rate and a high proportion of children who are likely to work the majority of their lives in Australia.

It finds evidence of increasing settlement in nonmetropolitan areas which creates social and economic benefits for local communities.

Humanitarian entrants help meet labour shortages, including in low skill and low paid occupations.

They display strong entrepreneurial qualities compared with other migrant groups, with a higher than average proportion engaging in small and medium business enterprises.
Humanitarian settlers also benefit the wider community through developing and maintaining economic linkages with their origin countries.

In addition, they make significant  contributions through volunteering in both the wider community and within their own community groups.

I wish I heard this perspective being used more liberally in the media and by politicians from all parties when we discuss “The Pacific Solution”. We, as a nation, need to realize that we stand to benefit far more from refugees arriving on our shores than we will need to provide them.

The Irony Of Australia

The Irony Of Australia

I’m re-reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes and thinking about the great irony that King George III punished thieves by sending them out to Australia while simultaneously stealing the entire country off of its traditional owners.

Steal a loaf of bread = five years hard labour in Australia.

Steal an entire country with incalculable wealth = it’s good to be the King.

Of course, he did go mad, have to deal with the American revolution and Napoleon. Karma is a bitch.


No Illusions Podcast #52 – Stu Campbell, The Love Punks & Neomad

No Illusions Podcast #52 – Stu Campbell, The Love Punks & Neomad

Neomad is a new iPad comic created by and featuring a group of energetic, talented and brilliant indigenous kids from Roebourne in Western Australia.

The guy who has helped them make it a reality is Stu Campbell. On today’s show, I talk with Stu, Max & Maverick about The Love Punks, Neomad, and life in a small Aboriginal township.

NEOMAD : EPISODE 1 : SPACE JUNK : FILM from Yijala Yala Project on Vimeo.


Link for Neomad, the iPad comic.

Also check out Stu’s other comic, Nawlz. It’s amazing.