Daily Archives: February 2, 2017

Liberal Party of Australia – Wikipedia

Posted: February 2, 2017 at 10:11 am

This article is about the modern Australian political party. For the Liberal party active in Australia from 1909 to 1916, see Commonwealth Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party of Australia (Lib or colloquially Libs) is a major political party in Australia. Founded in 1945 to replace the United Australia Party (UAP), the Liberal Party is one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

The Liberal Party is the largest and dominant party in the Coalition with the National Party of Australia, the Country Liberal Party of the Northern Territory and the Liberal National Party of Queensland. Except for a few short periods, the Liberal Party and its predecessors have operated in similar coalitions since the 1920s. Internationally, the Liberal Party is affiliated to the International Democrat Union.

The party’s leader is Malcolm Turnbull and its deputy leader is Julie Bishop. The pair were elected to their positions at the September 2015 Liberal leadership ballot, Bishop was returned to the position of deputy leader and Turnbull as a replacement for Tony Abbott, whom he consequently succeeded as Prime Minister of Australia. Now the Turnbull Government, the party had been elected at the 2013 federal election as the Abbott Government which took office on 18 September 2013.[3] At state and territory level, the Liberal Party is in office in three states: Colin Barnett has been Premier of Western Australia since 2008, Will Hodgman Premier of Tasmania since 2014 and Gladys Berejiklian Premier of New South Wales since 2017. The party is in opposition in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, and the Northern Territory.

The party’s ideology has been referred to as conservative,[4]liberal-conservative,[5] and conservative-liberal.[6] The Liberal Party tends to promote economic liberalism and social conservatism.[7] Two past leaders of the party, Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard, are Australia’s two longest-serving Prime Ministers. The Liberal Party has spent more time in government than any other federal Australian political party.

The contemporary Liberal Party generally advocates economic liberalism (see New Right). Historically, the party has supported a higher degree of economic protectionism and interventionism than it has in recent decades. However, from its foundation the party has identified itself as anti-socialist. Strong opposition to socialism and communism in Australia and abroad was one of its founding principles. The party’s founder and longest-serving leader Robert Menzies envisaged that Australia’s middle class would form its main constituency.[8]

Towards the end of his term as Prime Minister of Australia, in a final address to the Liberal Party Federal Council in 1964, Menzies spoke of the “Liberal Creed” as follows:

As the etymology of our name ‘Liberal’ indicates, we have stood for freedom. We have realised that men and women are not just ciphers in a calculation, but are individual human beings whose individual welfare and development must be the main concern of government … We have learned that the right answer is to set the individual free, to aim at equality of opportunity, to protect the individual against oppression, to create a society in which rights and duties are recognised and made effective.

Soon after the election of the Howard Government the new Prime Minister John Howard, who was to become the second-longest serving Liberal Prime Minister, spoke of his interpretation of the “Liberal Tradition” in a Robert Menzies Lecture in 1996:

Menzies knew the importance for Australian Liberalism to draw upon both the classical liberal as well as the conservative political traditions. … He believed in a liberal political tradition that encompassed both Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill a tradition which I have described in contemporary terms as the broad church of Australian Liberalism.

Throughout their history, the Liberals have been in electoral terms largely the party of the middle class (whom Menzies, in the era of the party’s formation called “The forgotten people”), though such class-based voting patterns are no longer as clear as they once were. In the 1970s a left-wing middle class emerged that no longer voted Liberal.[citation needed] One effect of this was the success of a breakaway party, the Australian Democrats, founded in 1977 by former Liberal minister Don Chipp and members of minor liberal parties; other members of the left-leaning section of the middle-class became Labor supporters.[citation needed] On the other hand, the Liberals have done increasingly well in recent years among socially conservative working-class voters.[citation needed]However the Liberal Party’s key support base remains the upper-middle classes; 16 of the 20 richest federal electorates are held by the Liberals, most of which are safe seats.[10] In country areas they either compete with or have a truce with the Nationals, depending on various factors.

Menzies was an ardent constitutional monarchist, who supported the Monarchy in Australia and links to the Commonwealth of Nations. Today the party is divided on the question of republicanism, with some (such as incumbent leader Malcolm Turnbull) being republicans, while others (such as his predecessor Tony Abbott) are monarchists. The Menzies Government formalised Australia’s alliance with America in 1951, and the party has remained a strong supporter of the mutual defence treaty.

Domestically, Menzies presided over a fairly regulated economy in which utilities were publicly owned, and commercial activity was highly regulated through centralised wage-fixing and high tariff protection. Liberal leaders from Menzies to Malcolm Fraser generally maintained Australia’s high tariff levels. At that time the Liberals’ coalition partner, the Country Party, the older of the two in the coalition (now known as the “National Party”), had considerable influence over the government’s economic policies. It was not until the late 1970s and through their period out of power federally in the 1980s that the party came to be influenced by what was known as the “New Right” a conservative liberal group who advocated market deregulation, privatisation of public utilities, reductions in the size of government programs and tax cuts.

Socially, while liberty and freedom of enterprise form the basis of its beliefs, elements of the party have wavered between what is termed “small-l liberalism” and social conservatism. Historically, Liberal Governments have been responsible for the carriage of a number of notable “socially liberal” reforms, including the opening of Australia to multiethnic immigration under Menzies and Harold Holt; Holt’s 1967 Referendum on Aboriginal Rights;[11]Sir John Gorton’s support for cinema and the arts;[12] selection of the first Aboriginal Senator, Neville Bonner, in 1971;[13] and Malcolm Fraser’s Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976. A West Australian Liberal, Ken Wyatt, became the first Indigenous Australian elected to the House of Representatives in 2010.[14]

The party has mainly two unorganised factions, the conservative right and the moderate left. Historically, moderates have at times formed their own parties, most notably the Australian Democrats who gave voice to what is termed small-l liberalism in Australia.

The Liberal Party is a member of the International Democrat Union, the only party with the name Liberal to hold membership.

The Liberal Party’s organisation is dominated by the six state divisions, reflecting the party’s original commitment to a federalised system of government (a commitment which was strongly maintained by all Liberal governments until 1983, but was to a large extent abandoned by the Howard Government, which showed strong centralising tendencies). Menzies deliberately created a weak national party machine and strong state divisions. Party policy is made almost entirely by the parliamentary parties, not by the party’s rank-and-file members, although Liberal party members do have a degree of influence over party policy.[15]

The Liberal Party’s basic organisational unit is the branch, which consists of party members in a particular locality. For each electorate there is a conferencenotionally above the brancheswhich coordinates campaigning in the electorate and regularly communicates with the member (or candidate) for the electorate. As there are three levels of government in Australia, each branch elects delegates to a local, state, and federal conference.[15]

All the branches in an Australian state are grouped into a Division. The ruling body for the Division is a State Council. There is also one Federal Council which represents the entire organisational Liberal Party in Australia. Branch executives are delegates to the Councils ex-officio and additional delegates are elected by branches, depending on their size.[15]

Preselection of electoral candidates is performed by a special electoral college convened for the purpose. Membership of the electoral college consists of head office delegates, branch officers, and elected delegates from branches.[15]

The Liberals’ immediate predecessor was the United Australia Party (UAP). More broadly, the Liberal Party’s ideological ancestry stretched back to the anti-Labor groupings in the first Commonwealth parliaments. The Commonwealth Liberal Party was a fusion of the Free Trade Party and the Protectionist Party in 1909 by the second prime minister, Alfred Deakin, in response to Labor’s growing electoral prominence. The Commonwealth Liberal Party merged with several Labor dissidents (including Billy Hughes) to form the Nationalist Party of Australia in 1917. That party, in turn, merged with Labor dissidents to form the UAP in 1931.

The UAP had been formed as a new conservative alliance in 1931, with Labor defector Joseph Lyons as its leader. The stance of Lyons and other Labor rebels against the more radical proposals of the Labor movement to deal the Great Depression had attracted the support of prominent Australian conservatives.[16] With Australia still suffering the effects of the Great Depression, the newly formed party won a landslide victory at the 1931 Election, and the Lyons Government went on to win three consecutive elections. It largely avoided Keynesian pump-priming and pursued a more conservative fiscal policy of debt reduction and balanced budgets as a means of stewarding Australia out of the Depression. Lyons’ death in 1939 saw Robert Menzies assume the Prime Ministership on the eve of war. Menzies served as Prime Minister from 1939 to 1941 but resigned as leader of the minority World War II government amidst an unworkable parliamentary majority. The UAP, led by Billy Hughes, disintegrated after suffering a heavy defeat in the 1943 election.

Menzies called a conference of conservative parties and other groups opposed to the ruling Australian Labor Party, which met in Canberra on 13 October 1944 and again in Albury, New South Wales in December 1944.[17][18] From 1942 onward Menzies had maintained his public profile with his series of “The Forgotten People” radio talkssimilar to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” of the 1930sin which he spoke of the middle class as the “backbone of Australia” but as nevertheless having been “taken for granted” by political parties.[19][20]

Outlining his vision for a new political movement in 1944, Menzies said:

…[W]hat we must look for, and it is a matter of desperate importance to our society, is a true revival of liberal thought which will work for social justice and security, for national power and national progress, and for the full development of the individual citizen, though not through the dull and deadening process of socialism.

The formation of the party was formally announced at Sydney Town Hall on 31 August 1945.[18] It took the name “Liberal” in honour of the old Commonwealth Liberal Party. The new party was dominated by the remains of the old UAP; with few exceptions, the UAP party room became the Liberal party room. The Australian Women’s National League, a powerful conservative women’s organisation, also merged with the new party. A conservative youth group Menzies had set up, the Young Nationalists, was also merged into the new party. It became the nucleus of the Liberal Party’s youth division, the Young Liberals. By September 1945 there were more than 90,000 members, many of whom had not previously been members of any political party.[18]

After an initial loss to Labor at the 1946 election, Menzies led the Liberals to victory at the 1949 election, and the party stayed in office for a record 23 yearsstill the longest unbroken run in government at the federal level. Australia experienced prolonged economic growth during the post-war boom period of the Menzies Government (19491966) and Menzies fulfilled his promises at the 1949 election to end rationing of butter, tea and petrol and provided a five-shilling endowment for first-born children, as well as for others.[22] While himself an unashamed anglophile, Menzies’ government concluded a number of major defence and trade treaties that set Australia on its post-war trajectory out of Britain’s orbit; opened Australia to multi-ethnic immigration; and instigated important legal reforms regarding Aboriginal Australians.

Menzies ran strongly against Labor’s plans to nationalise the Australian banking system and, following victory in the 1949 election, secured a double dissolution election for April 1951, after the Labor-controlled Senate refused to pass his banking legislation. The Liberal-Country Coalition was returned with control of the Senate. The Government was returned again in the 1954 election; the formation of the anti-Communist Democratic Labor Party (DLP) and the consequent split in the Australian Labor Party early in 1955 helped the Liberals to another victory in December 1955. John McEwen replaced Arthur Fadden as leader of the Country Party in March 1958 and the Menzies-McEwen Coalition was returned again at elections in November 1958 their third victory against Labor’s H. V. Evatt. The Coalition was narrowly returned against Labor’s Arthur Calwell in the December 1961 election, in the midst of a credit squeeze. Menzies stood for office for the last time in the November 1963 election, again defeating Calwell, with the Coalition winning back its losses in the House of Representatives. Menzies went on to resign from parliament on 26 January 1966.[23]

Menzies came to power the year the Communist Party of Australia had led a coal strike to improve pit miners’ working conditions. That same year Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb, and Mao Zedong led the Communist Party of China to power in China; a year later came the invasion of South Korea by Communist North Korea. Anti-communism was a key political issue of the 1950s and 1960s.[24] Menzies was firmly anti-Communist; he committed troops to the Korean War and attempted to ban the Communist Party of Australia in an unsuccessful referendum during the course of that war. The Labor Party split over concerns about the influence of the Communist Party over the Trade Union movement, leading to the foundation of the breakaway Democratic Labor Party whose preferences supported the Liberal and Country parties.[25]

In 1951, during the early stages of the Cold War, Menzies spoke of the possibility of a looming third world war. The Menzies Government entered Australia’s first formal military alliance outside of the British Commonwealth with the signing of the ANZUS Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States in San Francisco in 1951. External Affairs Minister Percy Spender had put forward the proposal to work along similar lines to the NATO Alliance. The Treaty declared that any attack on one of the three parties in the Pacific area would be viewed as a threat to each, and that the common danger would be met in accordance with each nation’s constitutional processes. In 1954 the Menzies Government signed the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty (SEATO) as a South East Asian counterpart to NATO. That same year, Soviet diplomat Vladimir Petrov and his wife defected from the Soviet embassy in Canberra, revealing evidence of Russian spying activities; Menzies called a Royal Commission to investigate.[26]

In 1956 a committee headed by Sir Keith Murray was established to inquire into the financial plight of Australia’s universities, and Menzies pumped funds into the sector under conditions which preserved the autonomy of universities.

Menzies continued the expanded immigration program established under Chifley, and took important steps towards dismantling the White Australia Policy. In the early 1950s, external affairs minister Percy Spender helped to establish the Colombo Plan for providing economic aid to underdeveloped nations in Australia’s region. Under that scheme many future Asian leaders studied in Australia.[27] In 1958 the government replaced the Immigration Act’s arbitrarily applied European language dictation test with an entry permit system, that reflected economic and skills criteria.[28][29] In 1962, Menzies’ Commonwealth Electoral Act provided that all Indigenous Australians should have the right to enrol and vote at federal elections (prior to this, indigenous people in Queensland, Western Australia and some in the Northern Territory had been excluded from voting unless they were ex-servicemen).[30] In 1949 the Liberals appointed Dame Enid Lyons as the first woman to serve in an Australian Cabinet. Menzies remained a staunch supporter of links to the monarchy and British Commonwealth but formalised an alliance with the United States and concluded the Agreement on Commerce between Australia and Japan which was signed in July 1957 and launched post-war trade with Japan, beginning a growth of Australian exports of coal, iron ore and mineral resources that would steadily climb until Japan became Australia’s largest trading partner.

Menzies retired in 1966 as Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

Harold Holt replaced the retiring Robert Menzies in 1966 and the Holt Government went on to win 82 seats to Labor’s 41 in the 1966 election.[31] Holt remained Prime Minister until 19 December 1967, when he was declared presumed dead two days after disappearing in rough surf in which he had gone for a swim.

Holt increased Australian commitment to the growing War in Vietnam, which met with some public opposition. His government oversaw conversion to decimal currency. Holt faced Britain’s withdrawal from Asia by visiting and hosting many Asian leaders and by expanding ties to the United States, hosting the first visit to Australia by an American president, his friend Lyndon B. Johnson. Holt’s government introduced the Migration Act 1966, which effectively dismantled the White Australia Policy and increased access to non-European migrants, including refugees fleeing the Vietnam War. Holt also called the 1967 Referendum which removed the discriminatory clause in the Australian Constitution which excluded Aboriginal Australians from being counted in the census the referendum was one of the few to be overwhelmingly endorsed by the Australian electorate (over 90% voted ‘yes’). By the end of 1967, the Liberals’ initially popular support for the war in Vietnam was causing increasing public protest.[32]

The Liberals chose John Gorton to replace Holt. Gorton, a former World War II Royal Australian Air Force pilot, with a battle scarred face, said he was “Australian to the bootheels” and had a personal style which often affronted some conservatives.

The Gorton Government increased funding for the arts, setting up the Australian Council for the Arts, the Australian Film Development Corporation and the National Film and Television Training School. The Gorton Government passed legislation establishing equal pay for men and women and increased pensions, allowances and education scholarships, as well as providing free health care to 250,000 of the nation’s poor (but not universal health care). Gorton’s government kept Australia in the Vietnam War but stopped replacing troops at the end of 1970.[33]

Gorton maintained good relations with the United States and Britain, but pursued closer ties with Asia. The Gorton government experienced a decline in voter support at the 1969 election. State Liberal leaders saw his policies as too Centralist, while other Liberals didn’t like his personal behaviour. In 1971, Defence Minister Malcolm Fraser, resigned and said Gorton was “not fit to hold the great office of Prime Minister”. In a vote on the leadership the Liberal Party split 50/50, and although this was insufficient to remove him as the leader, Gorton decided this was also insufficient support for him, and he resigned.[33]

Former treasurer, William McMahon, replaced Gorton as Prime Minister. Gorton remained a front bencher but relations with Fraser remained strained. The McMahon Government ended when Gough Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party out of its 23-year period in Opposition at the 1972 election.

The economy was weakening. McMahon maintained Australia’s diminishing commitment to Vietnam and criticised Opposition leader, Gough Whitlam, for visiting Communist China in 1972only to have the US President Richard Nixon announce a planned visit soon after.[34]

During McMahon’s period in office, Neville Bonner joined the Senate and became the first Indigenous Australian in the Australian Parliament.[35] Bonner was chosen by the Liberal Party to fill a Senate vacancy in 1971 and celebrated his maiden parliamentary speech with a boomerang throwing display on the lawns of Parliament. Bonner went on to win election at the 1972 election and served as a Liberal Senator for 12 years. He worked on Indigenous and social welfare issues and proved an independent minded Senator, often crossing the floor on Parliamentary votes.[36]

Following Whitlam’s victory, John Gorton played a further role in reform by introducing a Parliamentary motion from Opposition supporting the legalisation of same-gender sexual relations. Billy Snedden led the party against Whitlam in the 1974 federal election, which saw a return of the Labor government. When Malcolm Fraser won the Liberal Party leadership from Snedden in 1975, Gorton walked out of the Party Room.[37]

Following the 197475 Loans Affair, the Malcolm Fraser led Liberal-Country Party Coalition argued that the Whitlam Government was incompetent and delayed passage of the Government’s money bills in the Senate, until the government would promise a new election. Whitlam refused, Fraser insisted leading to the divisive 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. The deadlock came to an end when the Whitlam government was dismissed by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr on 11 November 1975 and Fraser was installed as caretaker Prime Minister, pending an election. Fraser won in a landslide at the resulting 1975 election.

Fraser maintained some of the social reforms of the Whitlam era, while seeking increased fiscal restraint. His government included the first Aboriginal federal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner, and in 1976, Parliament passed the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976, which, while limited to the Northern Territory, affirmed “inalienable” freehold title to some traditional lands. Fraser established the multicultural broadcaster SBS, accepted Vietnamese refugees, opposed minority white rule in Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia and opposed Soviet expansionism. A significant program of economic reform however was not pursued. By 1983, the Australian economy was suffering with the early 1980s recession and amidst the effects of a severe drought. Fraser had promoted “states’ rights” and his government refused to use Commonwealth powers to stop the construction of the Franklin Dam in Tasmania in 1982.[38] Liberal minister, Don Chipp split off from the party to form a new social liberal party, the Australian Democrats in 1977. Fraser won further substantial majorities at the 1977 and 1980 elections, before losing to the Bob Hawke led Australian Labor Party in the 1983 election.[39]

A period of division for the Liberals followed, with former Treasurer John Howard competing with former Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock for supremacy. The Australian economy was facing the early 1990s recession. Unemployment reached 11.4% in 1992. Under Dr John Hewson, in November 1991, the opposition launched the 650-page Fightback! policy document a radical collection of “dry”, economic liberal measures including the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST), various changes to Medicare including the abolition of bulk billing for non-concession holders, the introduction of a nine-month limit on unemployment benefits, various changes to industrial relations including the abolition of awards, a $13 billion personal income tax cut directed at middle and upper income earners, $10 billion in government spending cuts, the abolition of state payroll taxes and the privatisation of a large number of government owned enterprises representing the start of a very different future direction to the keynesian economic conservatism practiced by previous Liberal/National Coalition governments. The 15 percent GST was the centerpiece of the policy document. Through 1992, Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating mounted a campaign against the Fightback package, and particularly against the GST, which he described as an attack on the working class in that it shifted the tax burden from direct taxation of the wealthy to indirect taxation as a broad-based consumption tax. Pressure group activity and public opinion was relentless, which led Hewson to exempt food from the proposed GST leading to questions surrounding the complexity of what food was and wasn’t to be exempt from the GST. Hewson’s difficulty in explaining this to the electorate was exemplified in the infamous birthday cake interview, considered by some as a turning point in the election campaign. Keating won a record fifth consecutive Labor term at the 1993 election. A number of the proposals were later adopted in to law in some form, to a small extent during the Keating Labor government, and to a larger extent during the Howard Liberal government (most famously the GST), while unemployment benefits and bulk billing were re-targeted for a time by the Abbott Liberal government.

At the state level, the Liberals have been dominant for long periods in all states except Queensland, where they have always held fewer seats than the National Party (not to be confused with the old Nationalist Party). The Liberals were in power in Victoria from 1955 to 1982. Jeff Kennett led the party back to office in that state in 1992, and remained Premier until 1999.

In South Australia, initially a Liberal and Country Party affiliated party, the Liberal and Country League (LCL), mostly led by Premier of South Australia Tom Playford, was in power from the 1933 election to the 1965 election, though with assistance from an electoral malapportionment, or gerrymander, known as the Playmander. The LCL’s Steele Hall governed for one term from the 1968 election to the 1970 election and during this time began the process of dismantling the Playmander. David Tonkin, as leader of the South Australian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia, became Premier at the 1979 election for one term, losing office at the 1982 election. The Liberals returned to power at the 1993 election, led by Premiers Dean Brown, John Olsen and Rob Kerin through two terms, until their defeat at the 2002 election. They have since remained in opposition under a record five Opposition Leaders.

The dual aligned Country Liberal Party ruled the Northern Territory from 1978 to 2001.

The party has held office in Western Australia intermittently since 1947. Liberal Richard Court was Premier of the state for most of the 1990s.

In New South Wales, the Liberal Party has not been in office as much as its Labor rival, and just three leaders have led the party from opposition to government in that state: Sir Robert Askin, who was premier from 1965 to 1975, Nick Greiner, who came to office in 1988 and resigned in 1992, and Barry O’Farrell who would lead the party out of 16 years in opposition in 2011.

The Liberal Party does not officially contest most local government elections, although many members do run for office in local government as independents. An exception is the Brisbane City Council, where both Sallyanne Atkinson and Campbell Newman have been elected Lord Mayor of Brisbane.[40]

Labor’s Paul Keating lost the 1996 Election to the Liberals’ John Howard. The Liberals had been in Opposition for 13 years.[41] With John Howard as Prime Minister, Peter Costello as Treasurer and Alexander Downer as Foreign Minister, the Howard Government remained in power until their electoral defeat to Kevin Rudd in 2007.

Howard generally framed the Liberals as being conservative on social policy, debt reduction and matters like maintaining Commonwealth links and the American Alliance but his premiership saw booming trade with Asia and expanding multiethnic immigration. His government concluded the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement with the Bush Administration in 2004.[35]

Howard differed from his Labor predecessor Paul Keating in that he supported traditional Australian institutions like the Monarchy in Australia, the commemoration of ANZAC Day and the design of the Australian flag, but like Keating he pursued privatisation of public utilities and the introduction of a broad based consumption tax (although Keating had dropped support for a GST by the time of his 1993 election victory). Howard’s premiership coincided with Al Qaeda’s 11 September attacks on the United States. The Howard Government invoked the ANZUS treaty in response to the attacks and supported America’s campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the 2004 Federal elections the party strengthened its majority in the Lower House and, with its coalition partners, became the first federal government in twenty years to gain an absolute majority in the Senate. This control of both houses permitted their passing of legislation without the need to negotiate with independents or minor parties, exemplified by industrial relations legislation known as WorkChoices, a wide ranging effort to increase deregulation of industrial laws in Australia.

In 2005, Howard reflected on his government’s cultural and foreign policy outlook in oft repeated terms:[42]

When I became Prime Minister nine years ago, I believed that this nation was defining its place in the world too narrowly. My Government has rebalanced Australia’s foreign policy to better reflect the unique intersection of history, geography, culture and economic opportunity that our country represents. Time has only strengthened my conviction that we do not face a choice between our history and our geography.

John Howard

The 2007 federal election saw the defeat of the Howard federal government, and the Liberal Party was in opposition throughout Australia at the state and federal level; the highest Liberal office-holder at the time was Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman. This ended after the Western Australian state election, 2008, when Colin Barnett became Premier of that state.

Following the 2007 federal election, Dr Brendan Nelson was elected leader by the Parliamentary Liberal Party. On 16 September 2008, in a second contest following a spill motion, Nelson lost the leadership to Malcolm Turnbull.[43] On 1 December 2009, a subsequent leadership election saw Turnbull lose the leadership to Tony Abbott by 42 votes to 41 on the second ballot.[44] Abbott led the party to the 2010 federal election, which saw an increase in the Liberal Party vote and resulted in the first hung parliament since the 1940 election.[45]

Through 2010, the party improved its vote in the Tasmanian and South Australian state elections and achieved state government in Victoria. In March 2011, the New South Wales Liberal-National Coalition led by Barry O’Farrell won government with the largest election victory in post-war Australian history at the State Election.[46] In Queensland, the Liberal and National parties merged in 2008 to form the new Liberal National Party of Queensland (registered as the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party of Australia). In March 2012, the new party achieved Government in an historic landslide, led by former Brisbane Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman.[47]

The following is a complete list of Liberal Party leaders:

Key: Liberal Labor Country/National PM: Prime Minister LO: Leader of the Opposition : Died in office

1 Queensland is represented by the Liberal National Party of Queensland. This party is the result of a merger of the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party and the Queensland National Party to contest elections as a single party.

2 The Northern Territory is represented by the Country Liberal Party, which is endorsed as the Territory division of the Liberal Party.

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Liberal Party of Australia – Wikipedia

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About – Principality of Sealand

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In the early 60’s, Roy Bates, a Major in the British army, established a radio station, situated offshore on an abandoned ex naval fort named “Knock John”. The theory behind this location was an attempt to bypass the draconian broadcasting restrictions of the time, which permitted little more than formal broadcasting by the BBC. Roy’s station, “Radio Essex”, and others like it, were known affectionately by the media as Pirate radio stations, and were much loved by the British public, as they supplied everything that the BBC did not at the time, Pop music and amusing presenters.

In the years than ensued, Roy fought an unsuccessful legal battle with the UK government, which questioned the legality of his occupation of said fort. It was ruled that “Knock John” fell under UK jurisdiction. Smarting from his setback, Roy weighed his options. Another abandoned fortress, Roughs Tower, identical in construction to the Knock John existed further offshore, and crucially, outside of the three mile limit to which the UK jurisdiction extended. Roy proceeded to occupy Roughs Tower, on Christmas eve 1966, with the intention of revitalising his dormant radio station. This was until he conjured a different plan entirely. After consulting his lawyers, Roy decided to declare this fortress island the independent state of Sealand, Claiming Jus Gentium (Law of Nations”) over a part of the globe that was “Terra Nullius (Nobody’s Land).

On the 2nd of September 1967, accompanied by his wife Joan on her birthday, his son Michael (14), daughter Penelope (16) and several friends and followers, Roy declared the Principality of Sealand. The founding of this country was marked by the raising a newly designed flag, and in an extremely romantic birthday gesture, the bestowing of a new title on his beloved wife, to be know from that moment on as Princess Joan.

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About – Principality of Sealand

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Global High Seas Marine Preserve A non-profit dedicted …

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Either humans will solve the ocean crisis they created or nature will provide the unthinkable solution for them, Danny Quintana, Founder GHSMP & Author ofSpace & Ocean Exploration: The Alternative to the Military-Industrial Complex

Click Here to Join the GHSMP Earth Day Boycott to Stop Industrial & Commercial Fishing on the High Seas

The Problem, Fish Stocks Collapsing and Ocean Ecosystems in Peril: There is little exaggeration in the notion that major fisheries around the world might collapse as top-of-the-food-chain marine predators like tuna, sharks and whales are being fished out of existence by industrial fishing that scoops up the desired prey while discarding millions of tons of various marine creatures called by-catch. Upwards of 100-million sharks are slaughtered annually for their fins, often cut off while they are alive, for sale in Asian countries who consider Shark Fin Soup a delicacy. When writing Space & Ocean Exploration, Danny Quintanas central premise of diverting U.S. Defense Dept. spending to space and ocean exploration also included the U.S. Navy being involved in the solution to this crisis, as explained in the solutions section below.

The disappearance of top marine predators, since it appears nature cant keep up with modern day hunters, will ultimately result in ocean ecosystem collapse as the ocean ecosystem balance provided by these vital creatures vanishes. Consequences from such a fate cant be predicted by even the most prescient because it may involve mass starvation, economic collapse, political chaos and armed conflict. Technology has increased the ability of cruise ship size trawlers to decimate ocean wildlife like never before.

Regional efforts have achieved success in regulating fishing industries, but international waters have no limitations and large and small fishing vessels, many seeking species deemed endangered, are operating throughout the world. Considering the economic value of some species, like Bluefin Tuna and shark fins, this is not a surprising development.

Banning industrial and illegal fishing on the high seas will require aggressive enforcement and Danny Quintana advocates having the U.S. Navy take the lead with other national maritime military organizations to patrol the high seas.

E.B. GO Vision Media Radio Show & Podcast Video Playlist of Danny Quintana onthe Global High Seas Marine Preserve Saving the Oceans & Marine Life

Click on Grid Top Left of Screen for Pop Out Menu

If we continue with business as usual, I am afraid that the fish stocks will completely collapse. Closing the high seas to fishing is about 60 percent of the oceans. This would benefit all countries. The catch would improve so it would make it that the fish stocks are healthier and therefore larger catch, Dr. Daniel Pauly, Marine Biologist, Former Director Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia.Click Here to Learn More About Dr. Pauly

The Solutions is to Ban Industrial Fishing While Promoting Sustainable Seafood Sources:

The Global High Seas Marine Preserveorganization has two primary goals, as stated above, that branch out into political action, consumer education, grass roots activist efforts and determined campaigns involving major media and Internet exposure.

Danny Quintana, in his book Space & Ocean Exploration, advocated for amending theLaws of the Seas Treaty and establish the Global High Seas Marine Preserve that bans industrial harvesting of marine life in international waters so that large top-of-food-chain predators can return in large numbers. Within the scope of diverting U.S. Defense Dept. spending for ocean research, he suggests that part of the U.S. Navysmission include enforcement, in conjunction with other nations, of the industrial fishing ban in international waters. It must be a group effort or the ban will never hold, the oceans are too big and people will take risks if the payoff is enticing enough.

GHSMPs 50 Sustainable Seafood Cities Campaign: As part of the overall goal of Saving the Oceans, GHSMP is kicking off a campaign targeting the 50 Largest Cities in the United States in an effort to have them designated as Sustainable Seafood Cities by municipal or county legislatures. This would mean that only seafood products from verifiable sustainable sources can be sold at businesses in those jurisdictions.

This campaign targets the demand side of the seafood equation which will in turn help with the supply side campaign of banning industrial fishing in international waters. A traditional political action effort alongside a massive Internet PR Campaign created by E.B. GO Vision Medias Social Media Army and Content Creation Team (SMACCT), under the aegis of the GHSMP Board of Directors, will result in a multi-pronged effort to educate and motivate the public and politicians.

The Situation by Danny Quintana

Fish are the main protein source for a one-third of all humanity, about 2.2 billion people. Several of the foundations the Global High Seas Marine Preserve is asking to get involved with us work with poor countries in developing adequate food resources. The collapse of the fisheries will have a profound effect on the entire planet and create instability in already fragile governments and marine and land ecosystems. Given the problems with unstable governments and chaos in the developing world, everyone in the humanitarian sector has a stake in reducing already vulnerable situations.

Every year over 40-billion pounds of fish and marine mammals are discarded as not sought after bi-catch, truly a fishing industry scandal of immense proportions. This situation is unsustainable and, quite frankly, profoundly immoral. There is no place on Earth not impacted by over fishing. The industrial harvesting of marine life is destroying the wildlife of the oceans while top-of-the-food-chain predators have declined over 90 percent.

A number of studies predict fish as food will run out by 2048, however, this is happening at a much faster rate because the worlds human population increases by about 80 to 100 million annually. Since 1970 half of the worlds wild fish have been slaughtered. In this short 45-year span the worlds population has increased from 4-billion to 7.4 billion, and by 2050 hit an astounding 9-billion hungry people.

If industrial harvesting of marine life continues apace the worlds great fishing grounds will soon be devoid of life and collapse as sustainable ecosystems. Should a worse case scenario unfold then billions of people, many from undeveloped countries or small island nations who depend on the oceans for food and money, will starve to death all over the world.

A man-made genocidal disaster of Biblical proportions will be the result of Mans folly.Governments will fall, economic dislocation will reverberate in every part of the world, violence and war will break out in the fight for resources and the developed nations will hunker down to survive.

All of us have the same data. We are all well aware of what shark-finning and bi-catch as well as commercial fishing is doing to the oceans.The question really is, what are we going to do about it? Without closing off the High Seas to commercial fishing, which is the primary goal of the Global High Seas Marine Preserve, the fisheries globally will not recover.

The fisheries are not on the edge of collapse, they are in the midst of the collapse that has already seen the tipping point long ago, has already reached a state of being akin to a patient in a coma, strapped to a respirator with the doctor shaking his head. Now doctors are often wrong, and if bold action and a new way of thinking is embraced then it just might be possible to snatch survival from the jaws of terminus.

The ocean is not limitless. There is a growing awareness among younger people about the collapse of the fisheries. Young people should be concerned. They know it is their future and they dont want the fish stocks to collapse.

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Best Private Islands: Belize’s Cayo Espanto

Posted: at 10:09 am

Which of your offerings do you think best celebrates the authentic island culture? Situated just off the coast of Belize, Cayo strives to incorporate local culture into their offerings as much as possible. The chef incorporates local ingredients and traditional dishes whenever the opportunity arises and they coordinate tours to explore the nearby ancient Mayan ruins. The massage therapists at Cayo Espanto have even created a unique massage tailored to the needs of soon-to-be mothers, with elements drawn from the local Mayan culture. What do you think makes Cayo Espanto unique among all the world’s private-island resorts?Again, the level of service and attentiveness — the staff makes it their priority to grant any wish or whim. If a guest wants to celebrate Christmas on the island, they will do their best to fly in a tree for them. They’ve had visitors who requested smoked salmon, but since it’s not readily available in Belize, the chef built a smoker and smoked it himself. Additionally, the island’s location allows guests to feel like they are miles away from civilization, but the island is close enough to the main land that guests can go in for day trips and they have access to a number of activities including golf, fishing and diving at the Blue Hole, just to name a few. To find out more information and book your stay, visit aprivateisland.com. For more private islands, click here.

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Urban Dictionary: Trance Music

Posted: at 10:01 am

A euphoric electronic dance music genre that’s the love child of classical music, house & techno. In essence classical music for the dancefloor or ‘the next generation of classical music’. One of the most uplifting, beautiful, spirtual & at times religious types of music available today (although it composes today of a fragmented genre with many subgenres now available). Trance at times can be very ambiguous because of this fragmentation along with Trance remixes of contempary pop & rock music added for good measure. Often symphonic / orchestral sounding in form it uses classical forms in melody & chord structure. Binary & Minimalist forms an example along with use of classical piano & organ. Fused with the four to the floor beats & rhythm structures of House & Techno. As such many classical composers & Classically trained piansts have fallen in love with the genre composing there own trance tracks either produced by well known Trance producers or by themselves. Because of the similarities both Trance & classical music works can be converted or translated into versions of one another. Although the Rhythms employ patterns more like Techno, Trance was termed ‘Atmospheric House’ at it’s emergence by some.

The breakdown is often considered the heart of an Trance track, especially one of the euphoric variety & is often very emotional. It can either overcome the whole club with joy or make everyone spantaneously burst into tears, yes even with out the use of narcotics.

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Soft and offensive. Just like you.

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it is not essensial for trance to have a beat under it there are trance songs which do not but it is very common to have a beat.

what most people know as trance music e.g: productions by ‘Special D’ , ‘Lasgo’ , ‘Jan Wayne’ etc… is not trance this is called eurodance or pollitacally incorrect: cheese it has some trance influences but it doesn’t use the typical trance melodies but instead happy melodies and is nowhere near the complexity of trance with as purpose to reach high places in pop charts.

They Played a trancetrack on the radio the afternoon.

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Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

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Heavily associated with interstellar, and/or, intergalactic space travel.

Trance music allowed Sakura to enter hyperspace.

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Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

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The aim of Trance music is to give you a feeling of ‘high’ from the sound of the high musical keys used and the repeating of the beats that are between 125 bpm to 180 bpm. The nature of the songs have long intros, long endings, key change, fast interchange, happy melodies and classical music. It has many sub-genres that encompasses different electronic dance music mix such as techno, progressive house, deep house, pop, euro dance. For example, progressive trance can be a hybrid of trance with pop, classical, opera, techno and house elements. Although trance is hard to dance to in a clubbing environment, trance events are state of the art high tech laser shows with dancers and trapeze artists with superstars dj’s. It truly is a music that does not appeal to everyone but to specific people who appreciate quality in their music and gives them an uplifting feeling that is unique and can only come from trance music. RV

Trance music is unique to other electronic dance music.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

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A style of music defined by the following: beats are faster than 125 BPM. Second, Melodic elements are added between usually long sets of electronic drum-beats about 64 beats long. Third, these songs have no real lyrics to them and they last for at least 4 minutes on up.

The club DJ is gonna be playing a TRANCE set tonight.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

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Eugenics – The Canadian Encyclopedia

Posted: at 9:57 am

The word “eugenics” is derived from the Greek word meaning “well born.” It was first used in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, who founded the eugenics movement in England in 1904. The movement focused on both positive and negative eugenics, though with greater emphasis on the latter.

The word “eugenics” is derived from the Greek word meaning “well born.” It was first used in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, who founded the eugenics movement in England in 1904. The movement focused on both positive and negative eugenics, though with greater emphasis on the latter. Positive eugenics included the encouragement of procreation by individuals and groups who were viewed as possessing desirable characteristics and genes, thereby improving and strengthening the overall gene pool of society. Negative eugenics involved discouraging and decreasing procreation by individuals and groups who were viewed as having inferior or undesirable characteristics and genes. The goal of negative eugenics was pursued by a number of different methods aimed at limiting the capacity and opportunity for procreation, including sexual sterilization, marriage prohibition, segregation and institutionalization.

At the heart of the eugenics movement lay certain social and scientific assumptions. One such assumption, based on the work of Mendel, was that certain characteristics and traits were thought to be hereditary. Another was that these characteristics and traits were believed to be socially undesirable. Hence it was thought to be in society’s interests to reduce the spread of these undesirable traits by limiting the power of reproduction by those individuals and groups who possessed them. Among the characteristics which many proponents of eugenics viewed as almost exclusively hereditary were mental retardation, mental illness, pauperism, criminality, and various other social defects including prostitution, sexual perversion and other types of immoral behaviour. Supporters of eugenics also believed that these groups had a higher reproductive rate than other people. One of the most dominant and recurrent themes of eugenics philosophy in the late 19th and early 20th century was the emphasis on this link between mental retardation and criminality, and the consequent “menace” which mental deficiency posed to society. Many prominent Canadians of that era were advocates of eugenics philosophy and eugenic sterilization, including Dr. E.W. McBride, Professor Carrie Derick and Dr. Helen MacMurchy. Support for eugenic sterilization was also expressed in the 1920s by many prominent Alberta women, including Emily MURPHY, Louise MCKINNEY and Nellie MCCLUNG.

Eugenics philosophy was highly influential in the enactment of sexual sterilization laws in North America in the early part of the 20th century. This type of legislation was passed in many states in the United States, and in 2 Canadian provinces: Alberta (in 1928) and British Columbia (in 1933). The legislation in Alberta established a Eugenics Board with the power to authorize the sexual sterilization of certain individuals, including those who were “psychotic” or “mentally defective,” in order to eliminate “the risk of multiplication of the evil by transmission of the disability to progeny” or the risk of “mental injury either to the individual or to his or her progeny.” The Alberta legislation was repealed in 1972. During the 44 years in which the legislation was in effect, the Eugenics Board approved 4725 cases for sterilization, of which 2822 were actually carried out. The legislation in British Columbia, which was used much less often than in Alberta, was repealed in 1973. In 1996 an Alberta court awarded approximately $750 000 in damages to a woman who was wrongfully sterilized under the Alberta legislation.

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Eugenics – The Canadian Encyclopedia

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Internet censorship in Pakistan – Wikipedia

Posted: at 9:41 am

Internet censorship in Pakistan is government control of information sent and received using the Internet in Pakistan.

Pakistan made global headlines in 2010 for blocking Facebook and other Web sites in response to a contest popularized on the social networking site to draw images of the Prophet Mohammad. In general, Internet filtering in Pakistan remains both inconsistent and intermittent, with filtering primarily targeted at content deemed to be a threat to national security and at religious content considered blasphemous.

In mid-2012 Pakistanis had relatively free access to a wide range of content, including most sexual, political, social, and religious sites on the Internet. The OpenNet Initiative listed Internet filtering in Pakistan as substantial in the conflict/security area, and as selective in the political, social, and Internet tools areas in August 2012.[1] Additionally, Freedom House rated Pakistan’s “Freedom on the Net Status” as “Not Free” in its Freedom on the Net 2013 report.[2] This is still true as of 2016.[3]

Internet filtering in Pakistan is regulated by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under the direction of the government, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and the Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT). Although the majority of filtering in Pakistan is intermittentsuch as the occasional block on a major Web site like Blogspot or YouTubethe PTA continues to block sites containing content it considers to be blasphemous, anti-Islamic, or threatening to internal security. Online civil society activism that began in order to protect free expression in the country continues to expand as citizens utilize new media to disseminate information and organize.[1]

Pakistan has blocked access to websites critical of the government or the military.[1] Blocking of websites is often carried out under the rubric of restricting access to blasphemous content, pornography, or religious immorality.[4] At the end of 2011, the PTA had officially banned more than 1,000 porn websites in Pakistan.[4][5]

The Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE), operated by the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL), was created to facilitate the exchange of Internet traffic between ISPs within and outside of Pakistan.[6] Because the majority of Pakistan’s Internet traffic is routed through the PIE (98% of Pakistani ISPs used the PIE in 2004), it provides a means to monitor and possibly block incoming and outgoing Internet traffic as the government deems fit.[7]

Internet surveillance in Pakistan is primarily conducted by the PIE under the auspices of the PTA. The PIE monitors all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic from Pakistan, as well as e-mail and keywords, and stores data for a specified amount of time. Law enforcement agencies such as the FIA can be asked by the government to conduct surveillance and monitor content. Under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance (PECO), ISPs are required to retain traffic data for a minimum of 90 days and may also be required to collect real-time data and record information while keeping their involvement with the government confidential. The ordinance does not specify what kinds of actions constitute grounds for data collection and surveillance.[1]

In April 2003, the PTCL announced that it would be stepping up monitoring of pornographic websites. “Anti-Islamic” and “blasphemous” sites were also monitored.[8] In early March 2004, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) ordered Internet service providers (ISPs) to monitor access to all pornographic content. The ISPs, however, lacked the technical know-how, and felt that the PTCL was in a better position to carry out FIA’s order. A Malaysian firm was then hired to provide a filtering system, but failed to deliver a working system.

In March 2012, the Pakistan government took the unusual step of touting for firms that could help build it a nationwide content-filtering service.[9] The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority published a request for proposals for the deployment and operation of a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System which would operate on similar lines to China’s Golden Shield, or “Great Firewall”.[9] Academic and research institutions as well as private commercial entities had until 16 March to submit their proposals, according to the request’s detailed 35-point system requirements list. Key among these is the following: “Each box should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs (concurrent unidirectional filtering capacity) with processing delay of not more than 1 milliseconds”.[9]

The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005. This led to protests across the Muslim world, some of which escalated into violence with instances of firing on crowds of protestors, resulting in more than 100 reported deaths,[10] and included the bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan, setting fire to the Danish Embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, storming of European buildings, and the burning of the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, French, and German flags in Gaza City.[11][12] The posting of the cartoons online added to the controversy.

On 1 March 2006 the Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the government to keep tabs on Internet sites displaying the cartoons and called for an explanation from authorities as to why these sites had not been blocked earlier.[13] On 2 March 2006, pursuant to a petition filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan, the Supreme Court sitting en banc ordered the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) and other government departments to adopt measures for blocking websites showing blasphemous content. The Court also ordered Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan to explore laws which would enable blocking of objectionable websites. In announcing the decision, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, said, “We will not accept any excuse or technical objection on this issue because it relates to the sentiments of the entire Muslim world. All authorities concerned will have to appear in the Court on the next hearing with reports of concrete measures taken to implement our order”.

Consequently, the government kept tabs on a number of websites hosting the cartoons deemed to be sacrilegious. This ban included all the weblogs hosted at the popular blogging service blogger.com, as some bloggers had put up copies of the cartoons particularly many non-Pakistani blogs.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Chaudhry, summoned the country’s Attorney General as well as senior communication ministry officials to give a report of “concrete measures for implementation of the court’s order”. At the hearing on 14 March 2006, the PTA informed the Supreme Court that all websites displaying the Muhammad cartoons had been blocked. The bench issued directions to the Attorney General of Pakistan, Makhdoom Ali Khan, to assist the court on how it could exercise jurisdiction to prevent the availability of blasphemous material on websites the world over.[14]

The blanket ban on the blogspot.com blogs was lifted on 2 May 2006.[15] Shortly thereafter the blanket ban was reimposed and extended to Typepad blogs. The blanket ban on the blogspot.com blogs was later lifted again.

Allegations of suppressing vote-rigging videos by the Musharraf administration were also leveled by Pakistani bloggers, newspapers, media, and Pakistani anti-Musharraf opposition parties. The ban was lifted on 26 February 2008.[16][17]

In 2006 the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority blocked five websites for “providing misleading informations”.[18] Some allege that the websites’ real crime was reporting on the Balochistan separatist conflict.[19]

YouTube was blocked in Pakistan following a decision taken by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority on 22 February 2008 because of the number of “non-Islamic objectionable videos.”[17][20] One report specifically named Fitna, a controversial Dutch film, as the basis for the block.[21] Pakistan, an Islamic republic, ordered its ISPs to block access to YouTube “for containing blasphemous web content/movies.”[22] The action effectively blocked YouTube access worldwide for several hours on 24 February.[23] Defaming Muhammad under 295-C of the Blasphemy law in Pakistan requires a death sentence.[24] This followed increasing unrest in Pakistan by over the reprinting of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons which depict satirical criticism of Islam.[22] Router misconfiguration by one Pakistani ISP on 24 February 2008 effectively blocked YouTube access worldwide for several hours.[23] On 26 February 2008, the ban was lifted after the website had removed the objectionable content from its servers at the request of the government.[16]

On 19 and 20 May 2010, Pakistan’s Telecommunication Authority (PTA) imposed a ban on Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook in response to a competition entitled Everybody Draw Mohammed Day on Facebook, in a bid to contain “blasphemous” material[25][26] The ban imposed on Facebook was the result of a ruling by the Lahore High Court, while the ban on the other websites was imposed arbitrarily by the PTA on the grounds of “objectionable content”, a different response from earlier requests, such as pages created to promote peaceful demonstrations in Pakistani cities being removed because they were “inciting violence”. The ban was lifted on 27 May 2010, after the website removed the objectionable content from its servers at the request of the government. However, individual videos deemed offensive to Muslims that are posted on YouTube will continue to be blocked.[27][28]

In September 2012, the PTA blocked the video-sharing website YouTube for not removing an anti-Islamic film made in the United States, Innocence of Muslims, which mocks Mohammed. The website would remain suspended, it was stated, until the film was removed.[29][30] In a related move, the PTA announced that it had blocked about 20,000 websites due to “objectionable” content.[31]

On 25 July 2013, the government announced that it is mulling over reopening YouTube during the second week of August. A special 12-member committee was working under the Minister of IT and Telecommunication, Anusha Rahman, to see if objectionable content can be removed. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority, the telecom watchdog in the country, has already expressed its inability to filter out select content.[32]

On 21 April 2014, Pakistan’s Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights requested the Federal Government remove the ban on YouTube.[33][34]

On 8 February 2015, the government announced that YouTube will remain blocked ‘indefinitely’ because no tool or solution had been found which can totally block offensive content.[35] As of June 2015 1,000 days on the ban was still in effect, and YouTube cannot be accessed from either desktop or mobile devices.[34]

The ban was lifted due to technical glitch on December 6, 2015 according to ISPs in Pakistan.[36] As September 2016, the ban has been lifted officially, as YouTube launched a local version for Pakistan.[37]

In June 2013, The Citizens Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory uncovered that Canadian internet-filtering product Netsweeper is functioning at the national level in Pakistan. The system has categorized billions of URLs and is adding 10 million new URLs every day. The lab also confirmed that ISPs in Pakistan are using methods of DNS tampering to block websites at the behest of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

According to the report published by the lab, Netsweeper technology is being implemented in Pakistan for purposes of political and social filtering, including websites of secessionist movements, sensitive religious topics, and independent media.[38]

In July 2013, Pakistani ISPs banned 6 of the top 10[39] public Torrent sites in Pakistan. These sites include Piratebay, Kickass torrents, Torrentz, Bitsnoop, Extra Torrent and Torrent Reactor.[40] They also banned the similar site Mininova.[41] However proxies for these torrent sites are still active and P2P connections are working normally.[42] This move lead to a massive public backlash, especially from the Twitter and Facebook communities of Pakistan. In the aftermath of such critique, the IT Minister of Pakistan, Anusha Rehman, deactivated her Twitter account.[43]

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Ethereum Project Offers Censorship Resistant ‘World …

Posted: at 9:41 am

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The popular digital currency Bitcoin, witha market capitalization of over $16 billion, was in the news over the weekend after it recrossed the $1,000/Bitcoin value threshold. Despite the buzz around Bitcoin, there is another cryptocurrency-related project that is poised to revolutionize the way in which we exchange.

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The Ethereum Project, an open source platform developed by 22-year old programmer Vitalik Buterin, is seeking to build upon the blockchain technology established by Bitcoin by allowing developers to use the blockchain to build decentralized applications.

The blockchain is a decentralized database where records and entries are virtually unchangeable. While Bitcoin utilizes blockchain technology to manage a currency, the Ethereum Project provides an open source environment where programmers can create applications on the blockchain.

Tristan Winters, a reporter at ETHNews, the leading online Ethereum news site, explained to me the Ethereum project in laymans terms: Ethereum is a world computer. Instead of hosting apps on a server, you host them on the Ethereum blockchain and p2p network (world computer). So the apps are censorship resistant and no one can shut them down, even if they want to.

Ethereum is driven by Ether, a cryptocurrency that acts as fuel for the system. According to the projects website, Ether is a necessary element that ensures that developers are writing quality applications:

Ether is a necessary element a fuel for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations. To put it another way, ether is the incentive ensuring that developers write quality applications (wasteful code costs more), and that the network remains healthy (people are compensated for their contributed resources).

Because of the open source nature of Ethereum, its has almost limitless functions. Developers have proposed and began work on decentralized file storage systems, financial systems, and business management systems.

Ethereum allows actors to create smart contracts, which are programs that run on the blockchain that can handle currency in a way that is unchangeable. Smart contracts can be used for a variety of business functions, such as the representation of shares, organizational voting, and fundraising.

The decentralized nature of the Ethereum blockchain would allow for social networks that are truly resistant to censorship. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, a social network operating on Ethereum wouldnt be accessed via centralized servers. Such a network would exist as a peer-to-peer network that lives on computers throughout the world. Because such a network would have no centralized body, censorship would be extremely difficult.

Although it is unclear what the future holds for the Ethereum Project and the value of Ether, it seems likely that there is increasing interest in decentralized applications that have the potential to liberate an increasingly centralized world.

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about social justice and libertarian issues for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at tciccotta@breitbart.com

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