12 May 2021

Petition Marketing Scams

Petition marketing scams are on-line petitions that only exist to harvest personal details for marketing purposes.

We have all seen it on Facebook. A photo of a cute animal, a story about a nasty foreign corporation harming it and a call for people to sign a petition to stop it happening. Who can resist? But it is probably a scam.

The clue is when you can’t sign the petition without providing a phone number. Why do they make the phone number mandatory? Because the ONLY reason for the petition is to harvest your name and phone number so they can call you up a few days later and ask for money. The petition is just a marketing scam.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could sign petitions about things we care about without being harassed on the phone by marketing contractors for weeks or months afterward? The solution is simple: make it illegal to use information gathered from petitions in marketing campaigns.


Ban Petition Marketing Scams – Protest should be free
29 August 2020

Emergency Shelter

by David Moss

Homelessness is a problem in Australia.
According to The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) there were 116,427 people classified as homeless on census night in 2016 (ABS 2019). Of these 8,200 were what ordinary people consider to be homeless i.e. rough sleepers. 21,235 were living in supported accommodation for the homeless. The rest were living in what could be termed less than adequate accommodation.

Most Australians consider only 28,435 of the 116,427 ABS homeless to be genuinely homeless. So around 30,000 people require emergency accommodation on any given night. This number is manageable at a reasonable cost to the community. At a rate of $75 per person per night this accomodation would cost $2.25million per night or $810million per annum.

There were 5406 people living in improvised dwellings or sleeping rough in 2016 (2020 AIHW). This number is even more manageable at a reasonable cost to the community. At $75 per person per night it would cost only an additional $405,450 per night, or $148million per annum to eliminate homelessness completely!

The cost to the community for maintaining homeless people without adequate shelter is up to $44 137  per person per annum. The largest costs are for use of health and justice services and welfare benefits (2012 Burns). This adds up to around $220million per annum for the 5406 genuinely homeless people identified by AIHW. Providing all of them with adequate shelter would halve the cost to the community compared to ignoring the problem.

List of References

2019 ABS, “Homelessness and homelessness services“, Australian Bureau of Statistics, < https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/homelessness-and-homelessness-services >, retrieved 29 August 2020.

2020 AIHW, “Homelessness: People in other marginal housing“, <https://www.housingdata.gov.au>, retrieved on 29 August 2020.

2012 Burns, L, “The cost of homelessness and the net benefit of homelessness programs: a national study”, <https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/project/cost-homelessness-and-net-benefit-homelessness-programs-national-study#report>, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, retrieved 29 August 2020.

31 December 2019


I have always been fascinated by politics. Back in mid 90s I developed The Australian Politics Resource, the first website of its kind in Australia. Many of the major political parties got their web feet wet through that site. In its heyday it attracted over 1 million visitors a year.

Politics is the means by which people with different views arrive at a common course of action.

The days of The Australian Politics Resource are over. It was supplanted by Wikipedia and its thousands of contributors. Wikipedia provides far more comprehensive coverage than one man could ever hope to provide. Today APR exists only in the books, footnotes and citations of the academics who made use of it.

APR may be gone but political issues remain. One that I am particularly interested in is reducing the incidence of domestic violence.