“They do it because they want to get a reaction. They want to see me lash out and it all feeds into this sick and twisted entertainment value to them.” Blogger
The digital revolution has transformed our world. Never in human history have we been more connected to each other in ways that would have seemed unimaginable only a decade ago. But with the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and a smartphone in virtually every pocket, the internet bullies known as trolls are only ever a click, tap or swipe away.
“We want to make them cry. We love to make them cry.” Troll
Instead of bringing people together, trolls use the internet to target those they disagree with by provoking, harassing and threatening them.
“It may be that the internet has unleashed a kind of dark demon, within millions of people out there in the general public.” Psychiatrist
On Monday night Four Corners takes you into the dark side of the internet to explore the rise of cyber trolls.
“They send things to my home. It terrifies me to think what they could do, if they wanted to, knowing exactly where I live, knowing where my children go to school.” Blogger
Many trolls go to great lengths to try and hide their identity and as the program explores, psychiatrists believe this is helping to propel the appalling behaviour.
“Anonymity seems to be a very important factor on the internet, in that it seems to make people less inhibited about doing nasty things.” Psychiatrist
One self-proclaimed hard core troll outlines the trolling landscape and boasts about his extensive conquests, all while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.
“I’ve been associated with all kinds of organised trolling groups…The Internet presented something that was never available to us before.” Troll
And some of the trolls are not who you’d expect.
“The trolls and the really dangerous people that they attract are, themselves, mothers and have small children at home.” Blogger
We meet Britain’s most notorious troll, jailed for sending threatening tweets, and a campaigner in Canada as he goes on trial after a confrontation on Twitter.
“If you’re hurt, if the truth hurts you, it’s not my problem, because I’m just telling the truth.” Canadian Activist
The prosecution of trolls raises uncomfortable questions about how far our commitment to freedom of expression goes. Activists are warning of an Orwellian future of thought police.
“Trolling is a free speech issue and if you aren’t free to hate someone then you’re not free… If we are serious about freedom of speech, then we have to allow people to say hateful, obnoxious, racist, sexist things.” Magazine Editor
RISE OF THE TROLLS, from Canadian film-maker Jonathan Baltrusaitis and presented by Sarah Ferguson, ABC TV (Australia) 19th June 2017
As a category 4 cyclone crosses the Queensland coast with winds of up to 263kmh causing destruction in several towns along the coast, the attending media, all vying to outdo each other with a scoop are heard to say:
“Is there any wind?”
“Is there any rain?”
“How secure is your home?”
“How many cyclones have you lived through?”
Reporters telling people to remain inside their houses while they remain outside in the wind and weather of the category 4 cyclone with no personal protective equipment!
Has all the other news disappeared?
Have you experienced anything like this before? “No, we are from Norway!”
Male body boarding off Airlie Beach. Reporter: “We might alert authorities about this!”
“Can you paint a picture of how the system has changed, and how it has evolved?”
“Our advice is don’t go out!” Says TV reporter on the street in 130kmh winds!
“What’s it like when you can’t stand straight in the wind?”
“The situation may deteriorate in the next two hours!”
“All this rain coming in, you can see it really coming in!”
“Each cyclone is different!”
“Things are loose!”
“Describe what is happening outside at the moment!”
“Emergency services are not going to get in as quick as they would like to, as they can’t get in!”
“I can’t tell you how fast these gusts are blowing!”
“Residents are bracing for a category 4 impact!”
“Where are all the people (emergency service workers) and where will they be deployed?” Remember, they can’t get in!
“The wind has whipped ferocious tides!” Says reporter standing on a narrow wooden jetty!
With a flagged $4 billion to be recovered over four years, Centrelink’s demand letters over alleged debts could be just the start.
The Turnbull government’s mass invoices – constructed from data matching to claim discrepancies exist with Centrelink’s casual, disabled and vulnerable income earners – are expected to be used across the entire pensioner and social security sector. New discrepancies can be created over a recipient’s claimed asset values to substantiate invoices for ‘over-payments’.
Data matching and garnishee was originally implemented by Labor in government, but it was the Turnbull government that devised the more aggressive, presumptive and system-wide invoicing strategy.
While a responsible government has every right on behalf of taxpayers to eliminate fraud and ensure financial control in a country under deficit distress, the anecdotal hypocrisy of MPs who are extended travel allowance indulgences under lax rules adds fuel to what is becoming an explosive backlash across Australian postcodes.
A crowd funded court challenge to the legality of the alleged debt invoices is now expected.
Often stereotyped by tabloid media as dole bludgers exploiting a sense of entitlement, this time many articulate Centrelink recipients are fighting back.
Using the Not My Debtwebsite they are sharing their stories of having been coerced by the Department of Human Services to agree to fortnightly repayments even though many dispute any debt exists.
They have taken their income statements and their Centrelink letters to A Current Affair, other TV shows and Facebook to give public evidence of unfairness.
Distressed and agitated when they have received what appears to be a letter of demand, they have hit the phones to (when they can get through) dispute the claimed amount of Centrelink ‘overpayment’.
The automated matching of their Centrelink-declared casual or irregular incomes, when averaged over 12 months with the amount declared on their Australian Tax Office income tax returns, has created what appears to be a discrepancy or ‘overpayment’.
The onus of proof is immediately placed on the recipient, many of whom have to scramble to find pay slips from employers from five or more years ago, or pay their banks to recover archived bank statements showing the date and amount of income received.
Off to Dun and Bradstreet you go!
A series of Centrelink letters have initiated what looks like a ‘Catch-22’: a bureaucratic entrapment made famous by Joseph Heller’s wartime novel where a paradoxical situation is created from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules.
The first letter logged on a recipient’s MyGov account politely asks recipients to check online that their income details are correct.
Many recipients do not regularly access their MyGov accounts. If or when no response is logged a second Centrelink/ATO data matching letter quantifying the ‘overpayment’ is dispatched. Distress quickly ensues, as the quantum of the ‘debt’, in many cases thousands of dollars, is boldly displayed in what looks like an invoice, with credit card and Biller payments options listed at the bottom.
But instead of resolving the factual accuracy of the data matched quantum, the Centrelink call centre staffer says that unless the recipient immediately agrees to at least a minimum repayment (say $15 a fortnight for three months) of the disputed amount, under DHS policy the staffer has no alternative but to send the ‘debt’ for collection to outsourced collectors Dun and Bradstreet or Probe Group. Hence, ‘Catch-22’.
These debt collectors are on multi-million-dollar contracts with DHS. It remains commercial-in-confidence whether or not these companies receive a percentage of the money successfully collected. Opposition spokesperson Linda Burney has asked for the outsourcers’ incentive details to be released.
The strategy has enabled DHS’s Hank Jongen to claim, in an ABC interview, that debt recovery is working and had “identified” up to $300 million in overpayments since 169,000 letters were dispatched.
Mr Jongen claimed eight out of 10 “customers” had thus acknowledged the “overpayment”.
This official claim from DHS will be tested in coming weeks and months. The Australian National Audit Office, which coincidentally is due to report next month on DHS, has been asked to conduct a performance audit of Centrelink’s methodology.
‘This is cruelty’
In the current clawback, Centrelink has repeated its customer risk protocol by referring any distressed recipients to Lifeline for psychological support. More petrol on the fire.
One Centrelink senior staffer, who asked not to be named, told The New Daily the anger and rage generated by the data matching strategy had placed counter staff under confronting pressure.
“They just want to spit on us,” he said.
He asked why DHS had not quarantined vulnerable recipients, many of whom were intellectually disabled, from the more able casual income earners.
If DHS had a genuine “customer focus” the entire casual income reporting process would be “bulletproof” for recipients so they could neither calculatedly defraud nor inadvertently fall into error. A department wanting to engender trust with Australians striving to earn sustaining incomes in a now highly casualised economy would act protectively towards them.
“One intellectually disabled bloke screamed, ‘I’ve had a go mate … I did some work’.”
Our informant said the Centrelink data matching strategy would soon be exposed as counter-productive, with recipients now likely to desist in seeking any paid work for fear of losing any of their welfare payments.
With a Newstart allowance at $34 a day and city rents now at extortionate levels, many vulnerable people had little money left with which to clothe and feed themselves.
“We are dealing with the most impoverished and vulnerable sectors of the community. This is cruelty.”
Source: Quentin Dempster is a Walkley Award-winning journalist, author and broadcaster with decades of experience. He is a veteran of the ABC newsroom and has worked with a number of print titles including the Sydney Morning Herald. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 1992 for services to journalism.
AS the final waves of World War II Diggers pass away and social and demographic trends shift, many of the registered RSL clubs across the nation are closing down in the face of unprofitability.
Once considered a bastion of the nation’s social fabric, particularly in rural cities and towns, the registered RSL clubs’ demise is causing dilemma for many who have long called their local RSL a second home.
In NSW, 43 RSL clubs have been closed or amalgamated since 1995 while in Queensland, country areas such as Goondiwindi, and even the mining boom town of Mount Isa has recently seen the doors to their local RSL club permanently closed.
“It’s just devastating what’s happening to the clubs,” said Paul Phillips, a former Goondiwindi RSL president who had worked for the club for 30 years.
“For so many people, the local RSL has long been a way of life, the lifeblood of communities.”
There are a varied number of reasons for the closure facing many RSL clubs, but according to Victorian RSL president David McLachlan, the biggest culprit is nature. “As a consequence of the Second World War veterans going to their maker, we are seeing a lot of closures,” Major General McLachlan said.
Peter Lanigan, the president of the RSL in the affluent eastern Melbourne suburb of Hampton, which is facing severe financial difficulties, agrees.
“The traditional market base of WWII returned servicemen has almost disappeared and the children of those people haven’t got the same emotional connection to the clubs their parents had,” he said.
“There is no doubt a lot of pressure on borderline gaming venues and old-style branches.
“It’s a constant rationalisation. The number of clubs is reducing and will continue to close because a lot of them are past their use-by date”.
RSL Queensland branch chief executive Chris McHugh said one reason for the pressure on RSL clubs — and many clubs in general — was shifting social trends.
“In a lot of occasions, closure has been due to a combination of poor management, market forces, demographic changes and societal changes that have affected the industry,” Mr McHugh said.
“Younger people on a night out are opting for bars, cafes and nightclubs. They’re not going to clubs anymore.” It is clearly evident that RSL clubs have failed to identify this and failed to adapt to the shifting needs of the younger generation. It is has been too an attitude of “more of the same” when it has come to running the clubs, and the younger generation feel to see its relevance to their needs.
In the cities, particularly in NSW, where poker machines are entrenched in the RSL club culture, there is a split between the affluent inner city and less well-to-do outer suburbs branches. The nation’s biggest RSL club, the Rooty Hill RSL in Sydney’s outer west, is hugely profitable.
Rooty Hill RSL and Holiday Inn Phoo: Wikipedia
Last year, its patrons collectively lost an average of $1 million each week in the club’s poker machines and other forms of gambling — $48.8m for the year — which was about two-thirds of the club’s revenue. Take away the gambling revenues and it can be seen that the club is not doing as well. In clubs were members can not afford to use the poker machines, and revenues are much less, these are the clubs going to the wall.
Chief executive Richard Errington said the club had in recent years reduced its dependence on poker machine revenue, opening a major childcare centre, a bowling alley and a hotel.
“Gaming is still an essential part of our business but it is not the only reason we are here,” Mr Errington said.
At Cabra-Vale Diggers in Canley Vale in outer southwestern Sydney,the second-most profitable NSW RSL last year in terms of gaming revenue, punters collectively lost $47.5m in poker machines and other gambling.
But poker machines were not a panacea for all RSL clubs, said Mr Lanigan, as residents of richer regions were less inclined to use the machines.
In Sydney’s east, many RSL clubs have been closed down or amalgamated, including in Clovelly, Bronte, Maroubra, Botany and Mascot.
In Newcastle, north of Sydney, clubs have closed in Merewether, Hamilton, Adamstown, Lambton-New Lambton and Belmont. Some of these to close were the big, prosperous clubs, that perhaps failed to adapt to the generational changes required of them to attract younger patrons. In the case of Lambton-New Lambton its location in the shadow of a large and profitable leagues club, a bowling club and successful pubs did not help its operating position.
The RSL Sub-branches themselves are facing a similar dilemma, as they too fail to attract the young veterans from conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste into their midst. With strategic changes to RSL policy which enable all ex-serviceman — whether veteran or non-veteran — to join as full members, sub-branches have still failed to grow their numbers, as young servicemen and women perceive the sub-branches as old, conservative and out of touch. What the young veterans fail to identify is the mateship, camaraderie and mutual support that the members can offer them.
What is the future for these sub-branches as the older members die out? Only time will tell.
Daily Telegraph Uncovers Academic ‘Invasion’ Plot… 20 Years Too Late
Settlement or Invasion?
Australia’s least trusted newspaper may have just broken the record for ‘world’s oldest scoop’.
Yesterday’s (30/03/2016) Daily Telegraph’s scoop – that the University of NSW is “controversially” instructing teachers to refer to the “settlement” of Australia as an “invasion” – is based on a teaching resource produced two decades ago which was published under the auspices of the Howard government.
Entitled, Teaching the Teachers: Indigenous Australian Studies for Primary Pre-Service Teacher Education, the teaching guide was the culmination of more than two years consultation and research, and produced by UNSW in cooperation with the federally-funded Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.
It was released in 1996 by UNSW and CAR as a guide to appropriate terminology when discussing First Nations issues. Ironically, the Prime Minister at the time, John Howard – went on to spark the ‘history wars’, after abolishing the CAR.
The guide was inspired by Aboriginal poet and activist Oodgeroo Noonucal (Kath Walker) and distributed widely throughout schools and universities around the country, in particular NSW primary schools.
Since then, it has been used widely as the basis for university guides on appropriate terminology when teaching about issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Australian universities, including Flinders in South Australia, UNSW and Queensland University of Technology have all produced guides based on the document.
An entire section of the teaching guide – page 13 – is devoted to dealing with the issue of invasion. After noting the term ‘settlement’ is “less appropriate”, and the term ‘invasion’ “more appropriate”, the guide notes:
“Australia was not settled peacefully, it was invaded. Describing the arrival of the Europeans as a ‘settlement’ attempts to view Australian history from the shores of England rather than the shores of Australia.
“The use of the word ‘settlement’ ignores the reality of Indigenous Australian peoples’ lands being stolen from them….
“The fact that most settlers did not see themselves as invading the country, and that convicts were transported against their will is beside the point. The effects were the same for Indigenous peoples.”
New Matilda reader Serena O’Meley – a community and union activist – located the original resource at the State of Library of Victoria early this morning.
She told New Matilda: “This particular curriculum resource is highly auspiced, and it’s been around for 20 years. It was a seminal text involving substantial consultation,” Ms O’Meley said.
“It’s just sensationalist reporting by the Daily Telegraph, and it has to stop.
“Invasion is a fact, it’s not a political position. Once again they’re playing into the hands of racists and people who want to change history to suit themselves.”
Notwithstanding the motivations of the Telegraph, Ms O’Meley said some good would likely come from the debate.
“I think it’s been useful in the sense that it’s opened up a discussion, because younger people born during the history wars haven’t been properly educated about these issues,” she said.
“I’m personally a product of poor history teaching, and I know many of my peers have been as well. It’s taken me many years to understand the real basis of Australia’s true history.
“I cannot imagine what young people know and understand about these issues, so a curriculum resource like this is immensely valuable.”
New Matilda has sought to interview the Daily Telegraph reporter responsible for the story, Clarissa Bye, but at the time of press no reply was forthcoming.
A spokesperson for the University of NSW told New Matilda that the teaching resource at the centre of the Telegraph’s coverage had actually been in place since 2012. The spokesperson also noted that the resource does not mandate language from teacher’s rather it suggests ‘less and more appropriate’ terminology.
According to dictionary.com, one definition of the term ‘invasion’ is “entrance as if to take possession or overrun”.
It’s use to describe the gradual arrival of people, against the will of an existing population – as opposed to an immediate military force – is uncontroversial. The Daily Telegraph has used the term itself to describe the gradual arrival over time of asylum seekers to Australian shores.
Source: Chris Grahamon March 31, 2016
In the mindset of the initial European arrivals to Australia’s eastern shores, the British government of the time would have seen this as settlement rather than invasion given information supplied by James Cook. It is not possible, nearly 250 years later, to reassess the mindset of that time, when acting under the official instruction of the government of the day.
At the time Australia was considered to be ‘Terra Nullius‘. However, this is clearly clearly incorrect as instead of admitting that it was “possessing” land that belonged to Aboriginal people, Britain always acted as it were settling an empty land.
If James Cook said that Australia was “Terra Nullius“, who in England was a position to dispute this assertion?
It could be argued that the original settlers were in fact, not settlers at all! As convicts coming to a penal colony, they were hardly coming of their own free will. Once their sentence had been completed, they were hardly in a position to take themselves home! They became settlers, rather than invaders, by no choice of their own.
Academia and academics often have outspoken and controversial views which are not held by the mainstream population and government.
This story does remain an example of poor reporting on the part of the Daily Telegraph.
Let’s be honest this frenzy of “compassion” for Syrians can make Australia even less safe.
The Abbott Government said yesterday it would take in an extra 12,000 Syrian refugees.
Know two things about this response to the invasion of Europe by these “refugees” from the Third World — there are now more than 4,000 people every day and half of them claiming to be Syrians.
First, Australia’s intake will not stop this invasion. No, the word has spread to as far as Nigeria and Bangladesh that Europe’s fences are down. It has been suggested that Iraqi airlines have even had to put on an extra three flights a day to Istanbul to deposit more Iraqis on the edge of Europe and its riches.
Look at the “refugees” you see crashing through Europe’s weak borders, or check the statistics of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Is it normal for 72 per cent of “refugees” from war to be men — and predominantly young, fit men you might expect to defend their country rather than flee it? And consider: how many relatives will they later send for? So, no, Europe’s crisis will continue until it, too, turns back the boats. What checks are being carried out to ensure these refugees are actually from Syria?
But, second: in making this gesture, we risk making Australia even less safe.
Amazingly, even the people loudly demanding we take in more Syrian Muslims implicitly concede that danger. Sydney Islamic leader Ahmed Kilani warned that favouring Christian refugees over Muslim risked more terrorism here. Is that a threat?
“The Government keeps saying it is worried about people being radicalised. What do you think young Muslims are going to think when they see who can come in and who can’t?”
Maher Mughrabi, foreign editor of The Age, said the ominous same.
“Arab communities of this country are already bitterly divided by this (Syrian) conflict and the Government’s response to it.”
“If Muslims here feel that the blood of their brothers and sisters in Syria does not cry out as loudly as that of other communities, I worry about the long-term consequences.” Is that a warning or a threat?
Or take Australia’s Anglican Primate, Archbishop Philip Freier. He wants 10,000 more Syrian refugees, but advises against bombing the Islamic State for fear that Muslims here could launch an “asymmetrical response” — a terrorist attack. Once such people assured us there were too few jihadists to worry about. Now they warn there are too many to offend.
Oh, and Australia should import potentially more?
True, Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday winked that he will take only Syrian refugees from “very persecuted minorities” — code for Christians. Yet even Abbott dared not say so openly. In fact, he flinched at the first hostile question at his press conference, saying he was also thinking of “Muslim minorities”.
The bottom line is that a country should be able to pick and choose who they want to enter their borders and who they don’t. How well are these refugees going to assimilate into the lifestyle of their adoptive country? The vocal minority (of any viewpoint) or the media should not dictate immigration policy to elected governments. The UK prevents the entry of “refugees” from France and yet this passes almost without comment, yet Hungary and Macedonia are subject to media wrath for doing exactly the same thing.
But if the polls are right, Labor will next year form government and take over this immigration program and its foreign affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, insists the “basis of our policy should not discriminate on religion or ethnicity or gender”.
Has Labor learned nothing from the Fraser government’s blunder in responding with “compassion” to Lebanon’s civil war in the 1970s?
Then, too, government ministers privately urged prime minister Malcolm Fraser to accept only Christian refugees, given how Lebanese Christians had thrived here. Fraser ignored them and nearly 20,000 Lebanese Muslims, many from poor and tribal areas, soon came instead.
The consequences are with us today. True, most are good citizens, but gun crime today is rife in Sydney suburbs with large Lebanese populations. Crime rates are high.
More seriously, of the 21 Australians jailed for terrorism offences, at least four were born in Lebanon and seven were born to Lebanese families.
Let’s not make the same mistakes all over again.
Australia’s political class has for years been too dishonest to admit that when you import people, you import their culture. People importing their culture is fine, but all too often their hatreds come with them.
But our politicians must ask pragmatic questions when deciding which of the millions of the world’s refugees to help.
Who will make best use of our help by fitting in? And who will best repay our charity by enriching Australia, not hurting it? You can’t make such guesses without considering culture and religion — factors that influence the behaviour of the refugees’ future children, too. A study in the UK has suggested that immigrant’s children are more likely to radicalised. They feel that they neither fit the lifestyle of their home or adopted country and are easily swayed by persuasive and radical argument. However, you cannot refuse to offer assistance to people for fear of what their children “might” do!
I know, this makes a politician seem mean and “racist”, but what is their highest duty? To merely seem good, or to protect Australia’s best interests?
There are many reasons why Greece finds itself in a precarious financial position, one of which is its poor record at collecting tax. But is it really true that in 2010 the government collected only 10% of the tax it was due, asks David Rhodes.
A graphic published by the Washington Post on Sunday suggested that 89.5% of the country’s tax receipts remained uncollected in 2010.
In Germany the corresponding figure was just 2.3%, the newspaper’s Wonkblog reported.
This left many social media users claiming that the root cause of Greece’s problems is that the vast majority of its taxpayers that year simply didn’t pay their taxes.
But that is a mistake.
The widely misinterpreted figure of 89.5% comes from an OECD report which actually relates to historic tax debts – not tax that Greece was due to collect from its citizens in 2010.
The reason the figure is so big, according to tax blogger Richard Murphy, has to do with the way the Greeks have been keeping their accounts.
“Sensible tax authorities take a view on this issue every year and say, ‘We’ll write off a proportion of our tax debts that we know we are never going to recover.’ Greece, though, is recording this extraordinary large number because they haven’t bothered to write off their old debts. This is a poor indictment of the way every thing in Greece is done, “Let’s do it tomorrow”, but when tomorrow comes it’s all too hard
“This is an accounting anomaly.”
Greece does indeed have a “massive” tax collection problem, Murphy says, but it certainly hasn’t been failing to collect 89.5% of taxes owed in any one year.
So how much tax did the Greeks collect in 2010?
In fact, no reliable figure seems to be available – at least, not as a proportion of the overall amount of tax that should have been collected.
What we do know is that, according to the OECD, in 2010 the Greek government collected 70.3bn euros ($93.1bn), or 34% of the country’s total gross domestic product (GDP) – slightly below the EU average of 38.5%.
In part this is because Greece has a large “shadow economy” – earning money without paying income tax, or perhaps avoiding paying VAT.
You might assume that businesses in the construction industry or tourism might be the main culprits when it comes to tax evasion, but a report published earlier this year by a group of US academics found that the primary tax-evading industries in Greece included medicine, law, engineering, and the media.
A study quoted by the IMF suggests that between 1999 and 2010 the shadow economy in Greece made up 27% of the country’s GDP – compared to an average of 20.2% in other rich countries.
That means that nearly one in four euros that potentially could be taxed in the country’s economy simply weren’t declared to the authorities, and the Greek government missed out on approximately 28bn euros ($31bn) of additional revenue each year.
But Richard Murphy, who has studied the size of the shadow economy in Europe, says Greece is not as bad as some of its neighbours.
“Greece has a problem but Bulgaria, and Romania are worst. Italy is up there alongside it. But it is an issue which has clearly contributed to the current Greek crisis,” he says.
There is also evidence to suggest that the Greeks aren’t very good at collecting taxes even outside the shadow economy.
In 2011, an OECD survey ranked Greece as one of the worst rich countries in the world at collecting VAT receipts and social security payments.
When the OECD had tried to do similar surveys between 2005 and 2009 they found that the data was simply “missing”.
As part of any deal that will see Greece remain inside the Eurozone its international creditors are demanding that the Syriza government enacts a range of tax reforms.
This includes simplifying the VAT system, closing tax loopholes and creating an independent tax collection agency free from government interference.
But Greece’s creditors have made similar demands before.
Home of the “Little Envelope”
Here’s a little envelope for you! Nudge-nudge, wink-wink!
Here’s a thing that the Greeks are good at!
As Greece is a country facing bankruptcy, the Greek citizens find they can no longer afford the expensive and customary cash-filled “fakelaki” (φακελάκι) or “little envelope” (bribe) paid to public sector workers.
Greece, who is dependent on international aid to remain solvent, has always had rampant corruption that has hampered efforts to raise taxes and reform its poor economy.
The health sector and the tax authorities topped the country’s corruption rankings for 2011 public sector bribes. While the economic crisis has not reduced corruption itself, it has reduced the price of corruption that Greeks can afford to pay.
Greeks have suffered steep cuts to pensions and wages as part of austerity measures now in place.
Greece will need to revamp its tax system and improve its public sector and a long list of other reforms to improve it’s solvency.
The struggle (against corruption) is not easy but a long, difficult and painful process which demands persistent political pressure to it, but as the Greeks are reluctant to comply with the EU imposed austerity measures, so too will they be reluctant to go without the fakelaki. But they are going to have to want to stop it, and of course fakelaki is “something for nothing”, and is so widespread, so it is most likely that nothing will be done to stop it.
George Brown is a decorated soldier and health professional and 40 year veteran in the field of emergency nursing and paramedical practice, both military and civilian areas. He has senior management positions in the delivery of paramedical services. Opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the author and should not be construed as being those of any organization to which he may be connected.
He was born in the UK of Scottish ancestry from Aberdeen and a member of the Clan MacDougall. He is a member of the Macedonian community in Newcastle, and speaks fluent Macedonian. While this may seem a contradiction, it is his wife who is Macedonian, and as a result he embraced the Macedonian language and the Orthodox faith.
His interests include aviation and digital photography, and he always enjoys the opportunity to combine the two. Navigate to his Flickr site to see recent additions to his photo library.
Џорџ Браун е украсени војник и професионално здравствено лице и 40 годишен ветеран во областа на за итни случаи старечки и парамедицински пракса, двете воени и цивилни области. Тој има високи менаџерски позиции во испораката на парамедицински услуги. Мислењата изразени во овие колумни се исклучиво на авторот и не треба да се толкува како оние на било која организација тој може да биде поврзан.
Тој е роден во Велика Британија на шкотскиот потекло од Абердин и член на Kланот MacDougall. Тој е член на македонската заедница во Њукасл, и зборува течно македонски. Иако ова можеби изгледа контрадикција, тоа е неговата сопруга кој е македонски, и како резултат научил македонскиот јазик и ја примија православната вера.
Неговите интереси вклучуваат авијација и дигитална фотографија, и тој секогаш ужива во можност да се комбинираат двете. Отиди до неговиот Фликр сајт да видите последните дополнувања на неговата слика библиотека.