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Australians - What Are We?

Australians - What Are We? How Do We See Ourselves? How Do Others See Us?

Commonwealth Lecture, Australian National University
Monday 30 April 2007

by Malcolm Fraser

My remarks today will reflect on relationships with the United States and domestic issues which influence the fundamentals of Australia.  There has in recent times been a major attack on traditionally accepted Australian values.  This also impacts on our reputation in our region and in the wider world.  This is particularly damaging because the Bush government is on the way out and, within the United States, those who have supported it strongly will, in the next Administration, be regarded as pariahs.  This is also likely to apply to the current administration’s closest and most unquestioning allies.

Policies now applied suggest that the Rule of Law and due process for all people, regardless of influence, race, religion, colour or country of origin, is under threat.  We used to believe that those in positions of political authority would respect and work to protect the rights of all Australian citizens.  We now know that to be naïve and incorrect.

I would like to recall some changes that have taken place in the last half century.

The post war years were the beginning of a new age of enlightenment despite some serious backward steps.  In spite of the difficulties and rigours of the Cold War and the dangers that that involved, much greater than anything we face today, it was an optimistic period.  The United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were all established, collectively designed to establish a fairer and a more peaceful world.  Colonialism would be outlawed.  People would look after their own affairs.  The techniques of modern economics gave hope to governments worldwide, that unemployment could be banished.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights came into being in 1948.  Many Conventions were negotiated, designed to give legal force to its high aspirations, including the Refugee Convention which Menzies signed onto for Australia in 1954.

In Australia political parties did not play politics with race or religion.  Political leaders of those years, both in Australia and in many overseas countries had experienced the depression of the 1930s and the terrors of the 2nd World War.  They knew the world had to do better if civilization was to survive.  They in effect established a new and more liberal age, a time of hope and optimism, a new enlightenment.

It was recognised that on sensitive matters of race and religion, those in authority had to give a lead and make decisions and that it could be unwise to ask for a popular vote.  If the people of Melbourne had been asked if they wanted their city to become the biggest Greek city outside Greece, they would then have voted no.  Now that it has happened they would overwhelmingly vote in favour of it.

If we had asked Australians in 1975/76 if they wanted to accept large numbers of Vietnamese and others from Indo-China, refugees from the war in which we had been an active participant, they would have said no.  They would have been fearful of difference.  The governments argued on ethical grounds that we had no option and broadly that was accepted.

In these years we did not have detention centres, which should more properly be called jails, because they have all the necessary attributes.  Refugees were in the community, able to buy coffee, able to work.  Because they seriously wanted a new home, they were not going to abscond.  It was an open, liberal society.  Multiculturalism came to be accepted.

Every migrant group that I have met has always placed Australia first, understands the necessity to abide by Australian laws and customs, but appreciates, I believe, the openness with which their old customs can still be celebrated.  We really believed in strength through diversity and that the acceptance of diversity would bring Australians closer together.

What led to change?  In the middle to late 1980s a debate was started about Asian immigration.  At the same time a labour Minister for Immigration decided new boat people should be placed in what he called detention centres, in jails.  The Liberal Opposition accepted that fundamental change.  The harshness of our refugee regime begins from that point.  It has been fine tuned and made significantly more inhumane in the years since.

Pauline Hanson came on the political stage.  Many roundly condemned her for saying turn the boats back.  When the current Government turned the boats back, it won the Tampa Election, a substantial change in attitude.  An undeserved respectability was given to Pauline Hanson’s words.

We had forgotten that the right to free speech is not absolute.  Without a sense of responsibility, of community, and of judgement, free speech can become divisive and destructive, as it has in relation to race.

One of the small reasons for change is that now opinion polls often drive policy.  Both the Government and Opposition use their internal party pollsters on many issues to find out the basic views of Australians.  Such polls can lead to extraordinary error, especially if the questions asked are ones about which there has been no public debate and which are therefore likely to attract an emotional and not a considered response.  But all of this is not enough to justify or to explain the changed attitudes.  Why have governments chosen to follow and not lead?

Political events in the Middle East and also Afghanistan were causing large numbers to flee.  Upwards of 400,000 were arriving in Europe each year.  4, 5 or 6,000 came to Australia.  At the time the Government was not doing well in the polls.  It certainly needed an issue.  The defence of Australia’s borders, proclamations about deciding who would come here or who would not, sought to arouse a chauvinistic response.  Boat people were demonised as evil, as queue jumpers, as prostitutes, as drug peddlers, even as potential terrorists and as having no appropriate family values.

I don’t believe there was ever an explanation of the terrors from which these people fled, of Afghan families wanting a life for their female children knowing they would have none in a Taliban dominated Afghanistan.  A father in such a family, if he had initiative and enterprise would do everything he could to get that family out of Afghanistan.

We sometimes forget the Tampa occurred before 9/11, much longer before the invasion of Iraq.  The possibility of terrorists coming to Australia on refugee boats was only raised after 9/11.  The terrible events in the United States of 9/11 occurred a couple of weeks after the SAS were placed on the Tampa.  From these points on the politics of fear dominated the domestic environment.

What we do not know we often fear.  What we do not understand we fear.  People from a different religion we often fear.  And what we fear becomes a threat.  The politics of these issues was exploited by the Government and has bitten deeply into the Australian psyche.

This reminds me of the bitterness, even hatred, between Catholics and Protestants generated by Prime Minister Billy Hughes during the First World War.  His actions over the conscription debates in attacking the Catholic Church and the Irish were irresponsible and scarred Australia for over 50 years.  Catholics were accused of being disloyal to the Empire, of opposing the war against Germany, both of which were untrue.  There were far too many who believed the unfounded allegations that came from Prime Minister Billy Hughes.  Even in my lifetime I can recall people saying that Catholics are not true Australians because they owe their first loyalty to the Pope.  That is not now said of Catholics but similar allegations are made against followers of Islam.  The bitterness against Catholics was extreme and in some quarters has not entirely died.

Those in charge of our affairs today seem not to understand this experience.  There have been suggestions that this next election will be the Muslim election, as a while ago it was the Tampa election.  Too many in positions of influence have used language that creates a divide between the rest of the community and Islam.  While the Pauline Hansons of this world cannot be easily contained, there is certainly a responsibility on government not to repeat the mistakes and the errors made by Prime Minister Billy Hughes.

The War against Terror is important, although it should not have been called a war because if terrorism is going to be overcome it will be overcome by wise policy, much better intelligence than we have had to this point and by good policing.  But it is a threat and I do not want anyone to construe my remarks as denying that threat.  Our strongest weapons against terrorism are our own principles and belief in liberty.  We do not need to overthrow our principles.  To the extent that we do, we give a weapon to the terrorist.

In your mind prepare two lists.  One, what should you do to maintain a broad-based coalition in the fight against terrorism, of the kind open to President Bush after 9/11 and another list, what should you do if you wanted to reinvigorate the terrorist movement and drive the West towards a decades-long war against Islam.

On the first list I would have said to continue to act on our own principles, to maintain honest and open policies and to behave fairly to all people and to encourage strongly a peaceful resolution of problems between Israel and Palestine.  Under current American policy that was never an option.  The United States ran out of targets for its bombers in Afghanistan and then wanted a more emphatic demonstration of United States power and so it went to war in Iraq.

President Bush’s closest advisers, neo-Conservatives, foolishly believed that it was within America’s power to force political change in the Middle East and create a democratic Middle East in the process.  Democracy imposed by force in Iraq would be followed by democracy in surrounding countries.  It was from that point an aggressive war without analysis, thought or reason.  The damage done to United States influence and prestige around the world has already been enormous and America still refuses to take the necessary steps without which an end to conflict will be impossible.  An active, diplomatic engagement of all Iraq’s neighbours is critical to a final resolution of this unhappy conflict.

I am opposed to an arbitrary date being set for a full American withdrawal but only on condition that the diplomatic process is set in train.  If it is not, continuing American military involvement will only lead to greater calamity, to greater disaster and to an even greater destruction of American reputation.

The war in Iraq has made it extraordinarily easy for fundamentalist groups to recruit would-be suicide bombers to fill the ranks of the terrorist armies.  But it is not only from Iraq and from Islamic countries that such recruits can be drawn.  The West’s attitude to Islam is now capable of being depicted as so antagonistic, so destructive and hypocritical that it is possible to raise recruits from countries such as the United Kingdom.  When Prime Minister Blair says he has made Britain safe and the prosecution of the war in Iraq is fundamental to the preservation of British freedom, he shows how little he understands the consequences of his own action and the damage that war has done within Britain itself.  It has also made it difficult for moderate Islamic Leaders to maintain their moderation, especially in the face of other breaches of principle by the West.

President Bush established Guantanamo Bay to enable the United States to put prisoners alleged to be terrorist beyond the reach of the American legal system, beyond the reach of the Geneva Conventions and beyond the reach of any element of international law.  By executive decree, he established Military Tribunals which the United States Supreme Court struck down on the basis that the President had exceeded his powers.  Congress passed a law establishing new Commissions, a law that has not yet been tested in the Supreme Court.  It is certain, however, that that law could not apply to American citizens because the Rules of Evidence allow evidence that would not be accepted in the normal civil or military justice system in the United States and, for that matter, would not be acceptable under the Australian code.

The future of the Commissions probably rests on the judgment as to whether or not such laws can be passed in relation to non-citizens.  Its Rules of Procedure are utterly inconsistent with the Rules of Procedure in the normal justice system of America or of Australia.  The loose use of hearsay evidence and evidence obtained under harshly intrusive questioning is allowed.  It is left to the President to define how far that intrusive questioning may go.

This is the system established to try David Hicks and other people from Guantanamo Bay.  In my view it was a system designed to achieve a guilty verdict on the basis of evidence that would be totally unacceptable if applied to American citizens or to an Australian citizen within Australia.  The circumstances surrounding the Hicks trial, if one can call it that, and the plea bargain support that view.

For around a year, perhaps for longer, David Hicks had been kept in solitary confinement, no access to the sky, to the outside, to other people, inadequate exercise, a lighting system controlled from without the cell and also, we are advised, temperature changes from extreme cold to heat, could be part of the regime.

There were attacks on Major Mori and his credibility and the way he was conducting the Defence, all undertaken by the Prosecution, even at one point implying that Major Mori could be charged.  At the arraignment proceedings itself, Hicks’ civilian lawyers were barred from the process because they wouldn’t sign a blank cheque agreeing to rules for the conduct of Counsel, which the United States Department of Defence had not yet drafted.

These processes collectively were designed to put Hicks under intense mental pressure, perhaps for a very specific reason.  While the United States Government, and for that matter the Australian Government, seemed to want, as Stephen Charles indicated, a guilty verdict, the evidence they had available, even after five years imprisonment, was weak and could not have been successful for a United States citizen in a civilian court or in a normal United States Court Martial.

Justice Susan Crawford, Head of the Military Tribunals, struck out the more serious charges, including the charge of murder.  It was the more serious charges that were used by United States personnel, by the Government of Australia, by the United States Ambassador to Australia, to suggest that that Hicks was amongst the worst of the worst.  Quite recently the Ambassador said that Hicks would kill Australians and Americans without blinking an eye.  There was only one charge remaining, that of providing material support for terrorism.  The maximum sentence for that offence is reported to be seven years.  This charge was corruptly imported from the United States civil system, it was retrospective in its impact and the particular law, because of retrospectivity, would not meet normal judicial standards.

The United States authorities would not have wanted the weakness of their evidence publicly exposed, even in a fraudulent Military Tribunal.  Even though cross-examination would have been extremely limited, it could still have exposed the secrecy by which evidence had been collected.  The Defence would have exposed the fact that they were not properly advised of the evidence, of the means by which it was obtained, that it was in fact a very secret process, designed to achieve one verdict.  If the process had gone to open court, each hour would have demonstrated that justice was not being served, that this was not a court of law.  The best alternative for governments, with some semblance of their credibility preserved, was to have Hicks under such pressure that he would accept a plea bargain.  This does explain the solitary confinement of over twelve months.  It does explain the other pressures placed upon him, pressures which would have included the threat of continuing jail in Guantanamo Bay for twenty years or more.  What person amongst us would not have accepted a plea bargain that achieved some element of freedom at the end of nine months?

This is made all the more evident in the final stages of the Tribunal process.  Ten colonels had been flown in from around the United States to determine sentence, they determined the maximum allowed for that particular offence, seven years, only to find within fifteen minutes that they had been ordered to participate in a total and absolute farce.  Within fifteen minutes they learnt that there had indeed been a plea bargain and the maximum sentence was nine months, less than many courts would give for a drunk-driving charge.  They learnt that the plea bargain had been consummated in Washington, by-passing the Prosecution, by-passing the Tribunal and its Judge two weeks earlier.  Whatever this process reveals, no sane person can call it an exercise of justice.

So David Hicks will be home by the end of the year, partially gagged.  The gag order which was undermined by information provided to the British Government and subsequently published in his application to become a British citizen and subject to the same treatment as other British citizens formerly held in Guantanamo Bay.

And so this story comes to an end but at what a price.  The main story is not David Hicks.  The main story is a willingness of two allegedly democratic governments prepared to throw every legal principle out the window and establish a process that we would expect of tyrannical regimes.  That our own democracies should be prepared to so abandon the Rule of Law for an expedient and, as I believe, evil purpose should greatly disturb all of us.  But how many are concerned?  Too many are not concerned because they believe that such a derogation of justice can only apply to people who are different, in some indefinable way.

Only the other day I was speaking with somebody who quite plainly believed that Hicks deserved anything that was meted out to him because he was what he was; the Rule of Law did not need to apply.  For somebody who has done terrible things, why does he deserve justice?  That denies the whole basis of our system, the necessity of a civilised society which cannot exist unless there is an open, predictable justice system that applies equally to every person.

David Hicks at the best was clearly a very foolish young man.  He was terribly misguided and may well have done some terrible things.  I do not know.  But if our Government says he has had his day in court, he made a plea bargain, therefore he deserved what he got, it only emphasises its lack of commitment to the Rule of Law for all people.

If the Government believes it to be expedient, we now know that it is prepared to push the Rule of Law aside.  That is a larger issue than the tragedy of David Hicks.

A number of Liberals have spoken out about these and similar issues in relation to asylum seekers or refugees, or people improperly treated in Department of Immigration detention centres.  Too many have remained silent.  Does silence connote acquiescence, acceptance or fear, being fearful of standing and saying what they know to be right?  A Liberal who fails to recognise the central importance of these issues for the maintenance of a fair and just democracy, bears no resemblance to the Liberals of Menzies’ day and to the Party that Menzies founded.

We now have a growing number of people who appear not to matter to those in authority.  Not only David Hicks, Cornelia Rau, Vivien Alvarez Solon.  Not only our indigenous population whose problems seem low on the government’s agenda, but increasingly refugees or potential refugees.  We know the government sought to excise all of Australia from our migration zone.  In the process the government would have broken a promise made only last year to keep children out of detention.  This time it was going to be detention in some offshore prison.  Out of sight, and the government would have hoped, out of mind.

Because some members of the Liberal Party would not accept these changes and the Labour Party was prepared to oppose them, this particular legislation was withdrawn.

These are groups which, under current policies, have no adequate protection under the law.  The administration has avowedly pursued policies designed to deny access to the law to increasingly large groups of people.

A civilised society is be judged by its adherence to the rule of law, to due process and the ease with which all people would have access to the law.  It is judged by the way it treats minority groups.  Australia would be judged badly.  Today for a variety of reasons, but not least because the government has sought to set Muslims aside, discrimination and defamation against Muslims has been rising dramatically.  Too many have taken the easy path and accepted the government's contentions that Muslims aren’t like us and therefore it doesn’t matter if discrimination occurs and if access to the law does not apply.  We have forgotten that discrimination, once it starts, spreads.  This situation is already leading to increased discrimination against Jews.  If we do not arrest it, it will spread from minority to minority.

We would do well to heed the words of Israeli Professor Naomi Chazan in the recent Gandel Oration in Melbourne:  “There is one standard and one standard for all, and the challenge that is posed by terrorism is how to defend the rights of those that we don’t agree with? ... How can we defend the rights, the basic human and civil rights, of those whose ideas we simply abhor?  It is the system, the process, the courts, it is the measurement of justice that determines the nature of our civilisation.”

Our reputation as a successful multicultural society is threatened.

In other ways our legislators, both Government and Opposition, have transgressed.  The new security laws, supported by both parties, diminish the rights of all Australians.  I do not know of any other democracy that has legislated for the secret detention of people the authorities know to be innocent.  You are not allowed to make a phone call.  You cannot ring your wife or husband to say where you are.  You just disappear.  You are not allowed to ring a lawyer unless that is specifically conceded in the warrant for your detention.  If you answer questions satisfactorily that’s fine.  If you don’t, you can be prosecuted and go to jail for 5 years.  There is a defence against that prosecution, if you can prove you never knew anything, it is not an offence, but how can you prove you did not know something if you don’t even know what they are talking about?  We do not know how much these laws are used because the law itself prevents any public reporting or discussion.

There are many other things.  We have control orders and preventative detention provisions reminiscent of apartheid in South Africa and which are almost certainly a serious error in the fight against terrorism.  Both devices would forewarn any potential terrorist that a certain person has been blown.  The cell or group would disappear.  It would be better policy to continue surveillance, to collect evidence, hopefully to make a charge at a later point.

Some aspects of the Control Orders appear to be utterly ludicrous and counter to our national security interests.  As I am advised, one Control Order prevented somebody ringing Bin Laden.  If we seriously thought that person might have been able to ring bin Laden, we should have allowed him to do so, collect more evidence and perhaps pinpoint where Bin Laden was.

Last year there was been a report by a group, established by the government itself, to review the Anti-Terrorist Legislation.  This review preceded and takes no account of later proposed changes to our refugee provisions.

The review emphasised that recent events have had a profound impact on Muslim and Arab Australians.  The committee points out that there is a considerable increase in fear, a growing sense of alienation from the wider community and an increase of distrust of authority.  These concerns are more likely to lead to an increase in terrorist activity rather than in a diminution of terrorist activity.  The review committee strongly recommends that efforts be made by government to combat these concerns.

One of the themes of this speech involves the departures from the commonly accepted rule of law, which is the only real protection of civilised society.  Another theme involves discrimination which so often flows out of departures from the Rule of Law.  Unfortunately discrimination keeps spreading and is gaining a foothold in the wider Australian community.  Such circumstances diminish Australian society.

Unfortunately, if economically people are reasonably well off, and if there is a belief that these issues don’t touch me, don’t touch my family or my friends then it is easy to conclude that these issues don’t matter too much.  We should remember that as governments maintain support by playing on the politics of fear, so too they tend to exaggerate the fear and to expand the concerns of people.

This process leads to a further exaggeration of fear and to further alarmist reactions.  If current polices led by the United States are to prevail, supported as the United States has been by Britain and Australia, then we run two risks.  A decades long war against Islam with the possibility of extraordinary destruction throughout the world, and the possibility that our government will build within individual Australians a fear and concern of Islam that will take decades to eradicate.

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Australia should be manufacturing hybrids.

FORD is considering plans to cease engine production in Geelong, threatening about 600 jobs and adding to doubts over the long-term viability of large-car manufacturing in Australia.

Australia is watching its manufacturing industries die. Governments both liberal and labor have done nothing, as major decisions on our future are made in the US or Japan. We live a world, crying out for Hybrid Cars. We already export thousands of cars. Why don't we support local industries and manufacture Australian designed and built Hybrids and sell to the world. We have the skills but not the courage.

Ideology, the cause of the planets ills

Ideologies of any description always end up in conflict, its a historical fact. Our federal police are ideologically opposed to state police, as they are directly controlled and do the bidding of the ruling government much more than state police. This means they have no independence, no direction aimed at justice, or the countries security. No, its all about protecting the political interests of the government of the day.

This country is being dragged down into the cesspool of ideological conflict and confusion. On one side, we have the ideologically enslaved, and on the other, the opposing ideologically enslaved, all trying to be right, whilst none are. As long as ideology and in particular, religious ideology is allowed to have anything to do with a countries operation and direction, nothing will change. We will continue along the path we have been going for the last 3500 years of constant and growing religious ideological war.

All factions of monotheism, follow the same god, it's bizarre in the extreme when they are always at each others throats, whilst preaching peace. Are people so unevolved that they can't see the fallacy and harm caused by this primitive, violent, superstition riddled mythological religion Nothing positive will come forward in this country, or any other, until god and ideologies are removed from the public arena and put where they belong, only in the minds of believers.

We've almost become another state of the USA and they are loving our growing confusion and division. We are just a resource outpost to them, that can be seen by the need to shut down cities so the elite can have their meeting to screw the world even more.

When an economic summit between the ruling class, is more important that the day to day lives and business of the populace, you know your country is in big trouble.

The War on Terror has caused a turf war in Australia

AUSTRALIA'S top anti-terrorism cops have been plunged into angry internal bickering, threatening to splinter police efforts in the middle of a national security scare.

Senior NSW police officers are fuming that Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty accused an unnamed police officer of illegally accessing information on the British bomb investigation.

He made the serious claim in evidence before a federal parliamentary committee.

While Mr Keelty did not name the department, The Sun-Herald can reveal the officer was from the NSW Police Counter-Terrorism Command.

But Mr Keelty's comments have been furiously disputed by NSW police, who say the officer had full clearance from the federal police to access information.

A police source confirmed the dispute was "far from being an isolated incident"

In the so-called "War on Terror" the last thing need is the main players to be fighting between themselves.

Time to challenge religion

John Pratt, Muslim and Christians must weed out the extremists in their religions. There is no place in a modern religion for terrorism and all religious leaders must teach this to their flocks. The followers of yahweh, have had 3500 years to remove the fanatics and terrorists from their ranks, they have failed miserably, as history shows us. Their god is a god of war, as depicted all through the OT. The NT gives the ending, not as peace and love, but as a war against all non believers. These primitive fools are even prepared to kill each other, to prove their faction or cult is the true follower of god. With reasoning and rationale like that, what hope is there for any form of sanity, within their infantile superstition.

You only have to look at the planet's destroyed indigenous peoples and their cultures, to see the lengths gods followers will go to in forcing their debauchery upon others. For Australia to survive, we must reject the growing influence and invasions by more of these unevolved people. In the 60-70's, Australia got religion under control and reduced its influence on our lives, now it's being forced upon us by the imports, and the right wing religious Lib/lab leaders.

Time to challenge the fanatics!

"The war in Iraq has made it extraordinarily easy for fundamentalist groups to recruit would-be suicide bombers to fill the ranks of the terrorist armies.  But it is not only from Iraq and from Islamic countries that such recruits can be drawn.  The West’s attitude to Islam is now capable of being depicted as so antagonistic, so destructive and hypocritical that it is possible to raise recruits from countries such as the United Kingdom."

It is not the West's attitude to Islam that is making it possible to raise new recruits. Irshad Manji writes in the Australian.

Moderate Muslims denounce violence in the name of Islam but deny that Islam has anything to do with it. By their denial, moderates abandon the ground of theological interpretation to those with malignant intentions, effectively telling would-be terrorists that they can get away with abuses of power because mainstream Muslims won't challenge the fanatics with bold, competing interpretations. To do so would be admit that religion is a factor. Moderate Muslims can't go there.

Reform-minded Muslims say it's time to admit that Islam's scripture and history are being exploited. They argue for reinterpretation precisely to put the would-be terrorists on notice that their monopoly is over.

Reinterpreting doesn't mean rewriting. It means rethinking words and practices that already exist, removing them from a 7th-century tribal time warp and introducing them to a 21st-century pluralistic context. Un-Islamic? God, no. The Koran contains three times as many verses calling on Muslims to think, analyse and reflect than passages that dictate what's absolutely right or wrong. In that sense, reform-minded Muslims are as authentic as moderates and quite possibly more constructive.

Muslim and Christians must weed out the extremists in their religions.

There is no place in a modern religion for terrorism and all religious leaders must teach this to their flocks. 


The rich really are in the fast lane

Former Roads and Traffic Authority director Ken Dobinson has proposed opening the bridge's southbound bus lane to drivers who would pay a special staggered toll of $5, $10 or as much as $20 for a faster crossing, Fairfax reports today.

The rate would go up as more regular cars joined the flow of buses and taxis.

"There is a lot more capacity in these lanes because there are big gaps,'' Mr Dobinson said.

"You say 'you can use that bus lane, but we will charge you $10'. If too many people come into the lane at $10, then you stick it up to $20 so you don't hold up the buses.''

The system would use sensors to count users and adjust tolls, and RTA signs would warn drivers when the toll was about to rise.

Now I know why the rich are said to be in the fast lane. The gap is widening and now they want to rub our noses in it. All the Jaguars and Ferraris will now be allowed to travel in the bus lane. 

no reason in religion

"Tanveer is correct. We in the West must push the idea that reason can exist separate from God. It is hard to think how this clash of civilisations will end unless we energetically fight for reason against religion."

You can't fight for reason against religion politically when the Lib/Lab coalition is so heavily involved in it. The best way to start is to remove their tax free status and exemptions, treating them as a money making business which is all they are. That would slow them down.

There is no reason in religion. You can't have reason without factual credibility, and there's none of that in any monotheistic belief or faction.


 Subtitle: nevers will one decease.

Here's a genuine Liberal, with a sensa yuma.

No mention of the (im!)proper use of "hi!"

Clearly, most Aussies don't think so.

(Note gratuitous addition of 'so.')

The problem with Muslims

Malcolm Fraser said If we had asked Australians in 1975/76 if they wanted to accept large numbers of Vietnamese and others from Indo-China, refugees from the war in which we had been an active participant, they would have said no.  They would have been fearful of difference.  The governments argued on ethical grounds that we had no option and broadly that was accepted.

Thirty years later, John Howard has taken in thousands of refugees from another war, where we are an active participant. I am sure most Australians, if asked about Muslim refugees would say no. They would be fearful of difference and terrorism. The latest bombing attempts in Britain have shown that even Doctors can turn to terrorism. In World War Two, we imprisoned German and Japanese nationals, how long will it be for we intern Muslims?

While it may appear absurd to most, this nihilistic but exclusivist world view is clearly attracting significant numbers of young Muslims. British police have suggested the latest attacks and foiled plots may have involved teenagers. But the obvious absurdity of the set of ideas is still grounded in Islam, which, regardless of how theological experts argue, can be interpreted in many ways.

Muslim communities must openly argue precisely what it is they fear and loathe about the West. Much of it centres on sexuality. This is the first step in rooting out any Muslim ambivalence about living in the West. But thereafter, the argument must proceed rapidly to Islamic theology and all its uncomfortable truths - from its repeated glowing references to violence, its obsession with and revulsion at sex and its historical antipathy to the very possibility that reason can exist as separate from God.

Tanveer Ahmed is a Sydney-based psychiatry registrar and writer.

 Tanveer is correct we in the West, must push the idea that reason can exist separate from God. It is hard to think how this clash of civilisations will end unless we energetically fight for reason against religion.


Things are now different:

Things are now different: Laws is still thought to earn about $10million a year but he is no longer omnipotent. His ratings have slipped. He still has some power: John Howard called him yesterday. Together, they worked out that nine prime ministers had appeared on his show.

In 1999, Laws was found to have breached an industry code, by making favourable comments about companies such as Telstra without disclosing that they paid for his praise. Laws seemed bewildered by the charge; many of his listeners were, too.

The intelligentsia hate him, of course, because Laws - even with his Bentley and his bespoke suits - has the common touch. Former ALP president Stephen Loosley once said: "When you talk to John Laws, you are standing in the lounge rooms of middle Australia.'' Bob Hawke said he went on the program because "John Laws listeners are Australia''.

Laws had, and still has, much greater reach than any broadcaster at the ABC and he's arguably less biased. He takes on the simple concerns of the ordinary man. Without question, Laws also has radio's most splendid ego and it's most beautiful voice.

It will be a sad day in November, when it falls silent.

For some classic Laws

JOHN LAWS: If the worst does happen, you could be gaoled.


JOHN LAWS: You see, I have a great understanding of this because authority tried to put me behind bars too. You will never convince me, in a million years, that the timing of this is coincidental.

I believe that whether it's the Coalition or whether it's the Labor Party, more likely the Coalition, but I believe the whole thing has been orchestrated so that you can't .

PAULINE HANSON: .John, I think they're both in bed together. I really do..
Pauline Hanson broke down in tears today over fears that the One Nation Party will soon send her into bankruptcy.

The Party in Queensland's been found to be fraudulently registered, and Miss Hanson's required to pay more than half a million dollars in electoral funding.

PAULINE HANSON: And when I can look back over the years and realise that I've woken up the Australian people to take an interest in their future in this country and that I made the governments change their policy I wouldn't change anything.

JOHN LAWS: Wouldn't you rub out that $500,000 bill if you could?

PAULINE HANSON: Of course I would. But you know what, if I don't get the support, if I can't change it, well okay I'll either sell my house or I will take out a loan and I'll cover that debt as long as they don't bankrupt me, and then I intend to stand for Parliament.

JOHN LAWS: What happens if they do bankrupt you?


JOHN LAWS: Okay? Sorry, here. We won't think about that eh? Change the subject.

COMPERE: Pauline Hanson speaking to John Laws this afternoon.

Her Party is also under investigation in New South Wales. The New South Wales Electoral Commissioner, John Wasson [phonetic] has confirmed to PM that he is investigating the New South Wales Branch.

Who's was in bed with who?

 The racist thuggery of the past week is the inevitable consequence of the conservatism of people such as Howard and former New South Wales premier Bob Carr, a conservatism that never challenges and dismantles the antics of such media as The Daily Telegraph in Sydney and shock-jocks such as John Laws and Alan Jones, who perpetrate a myth about Arab Australians being different and somehow less Australian than the rest of us.

Standing in the lounge rooms of Middle Australia? What a joke, the likes of Pauline Hanson and John Laws do not represent Middle Australia. To have the airwaves free of John Law's bias will be  breath of fresh air.  These people stand for all that is bad in our society. Thank God all things come to and end. Your mate Howard will soon follow you into oblivion. Goodbye and good riddance.


John Pratt:

As the gap between the rich and poor in this country increases, the divisions increase.  

In North America the top 2 per cent of wealthy eligible voters, and the bottom 2 per cent of poor eligible voters, are least likely to exercise their voting right. Interesting, and something, that is never looked at in depth.  I would also suspect this is a trend shared in all democracies.

My own opinion is that although both sections of citizens seem diametrically opposed at first glance, they do in fact, have much in common when it comes to government. Both would seemingly have the inside running on how the present system really - as opposed to theoretically works. That they choose to opt out, probably though lack of interest that there will be change, does not fill me full of hope in this system, nor its future hopes.

John Pratt:

Bring on the revolution!

Do you really think this is possible, when people such as yourself, effectively support the continuing of the same thing? A different side of the same coin perhaps (debatable), the same coin all the same.

John Pratt:

It sickens me, that Howard and his mates think they should be out there with the other pigs in our society, that think they should be paid millions of dollars a year while 13 percent of our children live in poverty.

My reading of this issue is that the opposition party, has not opposed. Could they be considered "mates" of the Prime Minister?

Pigs in a trough

Mr Howard will receive a $21,000 rise to $330,000 a year while Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd will get an extra $15,000.

The average wage is between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.

Mr Howard said he knew the pay rise would not be popular but said it was deserved, particularly compared to huge salaries for business executives and other professionals.

"I know that pay increases for politicians are never popular," Mr Howard said.

"When you look at the workload carried by members of parliament, particularly the workload carried by senior ministers and indeed senior office bearers in the opposition, I don't think - given wages that are paid for other occupations in the community - that they are excessive.

Howard says he knows that the pay rises will be unpopular. In a democracy aren't our politicians meant to do want the majority calls for?

It sickens me, that Howard and his mates think they should be out there with the other pigs in our society, that think they should be paid millions of dollars a year while 13 percent of our children live in poverty. This government spends most of its time forcing wages down for the average worker in the meanwhile it gives its self a pay rise. The minimum wage for workers is below the poverty line and those at the top vote in more wages for themselves. Even pigs wouldn't behave like this.

As the gap between the rich and poor in this country increases, the divisions increase.  

Jacques Rousseau's 12-volume autobiographical work Confessions, was written in 1770. In Book 6, which was written around 1767, he recalls:

At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, "Then let them eat pastry!"

 Bring on the revolution!


Pigs in the trough

John Pratt, "It sickens me, that Howard and his mates think they should be out there with the other pigs in our society, that think they should be paid millions of dollars a year".

I am waiting with baited breath for Rudd and his piglets to refuse the payrise.  What would be a respectable time to wait for this to happen?. I hope you and I live long enough to see that happen.

North Queensland to become 7th state?

Queensland should be divided by the 22nd parallel with the boundary running just south of Sarina on the coast to the Northern Territory border between Boulia and Mount Isa, league spokesman Laurie Fabrellas said.

And the capital should be at Sellheim, near Charters Towers, to overcome rivalry between Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, he said.

Mr Fabrellas said rather than bickering over local authority boundaries, north Queenslanders should move to govern themselves – a step that would require a plebiscite and then a referendum.

He is writing to Prime Minister John Howard asking that the view of Queenslanders be tested in a plebiscite held with this year's federal election.

Mr Fabrellas is reflecting the distrust and dissatisfaction many people in the north have for southern politicians both in Canberra and Brisbane. I am not sure that the creation of a new state is the solution. I think we need to do away with states altogether. We have too many tiers of government and it is easy for politicians to finger point at each other.

National issues such as the water crisis, the state of our hospitals - for too long the regional areas of Australia have been largely ignored.  Huge government departments duplicated 6 or 7 times. It's time we had one national government looking after law, health, defence, education, environment, and strong local governments that took care of local issues.

The States

John Pratt, yes it certainly is time to get rid of the States. The hospital situation in NSW is in the same dire straits as Queensland, not to mention education and transport.

The answer is to let Howard and Costello run the whole show and the States will be back on their feet in no time. However we cannot let Rudd near the hospitals – we know what he did in Queensland last time he had a say.

The State of

Alan Curran, your seem to exhibit an unhealthy "arse-kissing" attitude where the Moral Midget and "Lou" Costello are concerned.

Next you'll be telling us that the Dastardly Duo were the product of virgin births.

If our political leaders were any good we would not be in the mess we are in right now. Unheard of levels of debt in the private and corporate sector, moral bankruptcy amok. I don't like your idea of what's good for me. Why not just let them take over your life and leave the rest of us alone?

The State of... ?

Roger Fedyk,I assume the mess you are talking about is the state of the Labor Party and the Unions. The L-Plater and Gillard being led by the nose by Burrows is not a pretty sight.

As the polls show the L-Plater coming to the end of his honeymoon just watch him lose his cool, and make some more mistakes.

Calling Alan Curran

Hello, are you there Alan?  I want to talk to you, not the pre-recorded propaganda from Liberal Party Central.

If Alan Curran is home can he please review our current account deficit, balance of payments, level of private debt. Here's a clue, he won't find the information on any Liberal Party literature.

He could look for the 'debt truck' so cleverly used by the Dastardly Duo in the years when they so desperately wanted Australians to know the truth. Probably at the bottom of some quarry now. Did it ever exist and was its information true? Ask the DD!

I'm here

Roger Fedyk, funny that, I had a look on the Labor Party website and could find no reference to the Beazley Blackhole ($96 billion). I will keep looking and let you know. I have fired an email off to Wayne Swan and will let you know when I get a reply.

Margo: Alan, could you put the first mention of a fellow Webdiarist in your comments in bold? 

There's Always Hope

Alan, it's good to know that you're on the job.

By the way, it has been quite a long time since I voted Labor. In fact, it was when Hawke ruled the roost and I lived in Bob Menzies' old electorate at the time.

I was a member of the Australian Democrats for a number of years after returning to Australia from 12 years overseas and for the past 3 years have given my support to The Greens.

I point this out just so that you don't waste your breath on the anti-Labor rant, I'm immune. I think that Labor is full of the same bastards as the Coalition. It doesn't matter which party they're from.  When they're at the slop trough (our tax dollars) they all behave like pigs (actually, on reflection, that is unfair to pigs).

I find it rather sad that you cleave so closely to the Moral Midget because he wouldn't give you thought on any other day except election day. This is a guy who has spent 30-odd years conspiring against his own leaders for the job he currently has. Not my idea of a role model but then the wisest thing that you can say about politicians is that they eat their own. So if you admire that kind of behaviour then Howardthebastard is your man, I guess.

Where do YOU get YOUR information from?

As the time for "judgement" approaches, the media is beginning to spin for the Corporations but - just a little. There will be more, much more.

With Howard spending well over $100 million of our taxpayer funds per year on political ads for the Corporations' Liberals, and another $50 odd million merely to try to convince us that the slave labour Work-no-Choices is good for us, we must consider that "changing for the better" to Labor is still a very hard fight for Australians.

WHY?  Because the bosses know that it pays to advertise and they pay each other for the privilege!  Fair dinkum.

Compare the dispute between the Corporation Unions and the Employee Unions.  Under Corporation rule our country is being bled of hundreds of millions of dollars to overseas shareholders, while the people of this nation are losing benefits, services, security, education, health and even basic human rights. Is that Prosperity? For whom?

Now that Howard has degenerated the Public's Parliament into his own dictatorship forum, and the Public owned Kirribilli House into his own private fundraising venue, the media still hasn't raised even one eyebrow!  Just imagine if Labor had done that?

The Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of Australia Unions, two integral parts of Howard's Corporation bosses, are now going to blast away with millions of dollars against the return to a re-emergence of industrial sanity.  Any more proof needed?

Never before in my living memory has the division between "them and us" been so broad and frightening as it is now in "our" Australia.

I remember as a young sailor in 1949, the degenerate Nationalist regime that had concentrated the wealth of a great nation into the hands of some 5% of the population.

It is estimated already that the top 20% of our population have the most wealth by a long shot.

There can be no doubt that the Howard "New Order" is reducing our benefits, services and basic human rights, while at the same time increasing the profits of the foreign Corporations by reducing their taxes.

The ABS will only receive the figures produced and doctored by Costello and his "silenced" underlings.  But what have they got to hide?

When we vote, we must remember Howard's corrupt past and consider our future under that regime. 

The lines are set - the powerful U.S. Bush administration; the foreign Corporations, the Corporation media and the Howard Corporation government with the millions of dollars they can pay for comment against - when you look at it clearly - we the voters!  Struth.

The question is, can we wipe the smile off Howard's face? Or do we no longer have the powers of reason and logic?


Margo: Hi Ernie. Your posts are coming through perfectly, now. Thanks for writing in the comments box.

Move Canberra to Alice Springs.

Where should the PM live?

Howard is using Kirribilli as Liberal Party HQ in Sydney. Now Melbourne is offering something similar. What comes next? Rudd's a Queenslander so we will need one in Brisbane. Then Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Darwin will follow suit.

No! we are a federation. We elect our Federal government to govern all Australia. Could you imagine the outcry, if Bush decided to live in New York? Living thousands of kilometres north of Canberra it seems that the south east corner of Australia has far too much influence on the development of our country. The ideal place for our seat of Government would be Alice Springs, right in the Centre. Think of the savings in airfares. The symbolism of Uluru it would be fantastic.

Did Australia give a nod to brutal military coup in Bangladesh?

Bangladesh was on a knife edge in January. As political rivalries were being played out in violent street clashes, western diplomats were shuttling around the capital trying to mediate.

Just before the Army hit the streets, the British and American ambassadors each held private meetings with the military chief. Some suspect General Moeen was given a green light to take over.

Influential newspaper editor Nurul Kabir says a clique of western diplomats known as the Tuesday Club interfered in his country's internal affairs.

The club is an informal caucus of the big donor nations that meets every week. Its core members are ambassadors from the US, Britain, Japan, Canada, the European Union and Australia.

Here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200706/s1945599.htm

Evidence linking Bangladesh's military-backed Government with mass arrests, illegal detention, torture and at least 100 murders since January. The horrific revelations come as Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer prepares to unveil a one-third increase in foreign aid to Bangladesh.

Human rights groups contend that the military has arrested as many as 200,000 people since the crackdown began. There is no way to fully account for their whereabouts but the belief is that most of them are still in military custody.

It seems Downer has given the nod to a political takeover as brutal as Hussein’s Iraq. Australia’s Foreign Policy is a mess as we try to pick winners. We are getting a reputation as bad as the ugly American. Our neighbors are paying for our ineptitude with their lives.   

With your permission Margo – your prophetic article.

March 24, 2004.

Now we know why the federal government has done nothing to outlaw cash for comment in our media since the John Laws/Alan Jones scandals y ears ago. The government itself is into the same deceitful practice, using OUR money to con US!

Universal McCann is a US multinational with the exclusive contract to act as the federal government’s media placement agency. It does ALL the government’s advertising campaigns.

As part of a $5.5 million advertising campaign in June and July to spruik telecommunications in the regions to convince people to support the privatisation of Telstra, Universal McCann met regional newspaper groups to nut out a blatant cash comment deal.

With lots of our money in the government’s pocket, it had lots of power to get what it wanted from newspaper owners with no ethics. Here’s what Universal McCann reported to the Government:

“Preliminary discussions with major regional newspaper networks have identified a commitment to implement a ‘telecommunications feature’ in many of the publications. This could take the form of placing one full-page mono advertisement and receive one full page of editorial, supplied predominantly by DCITA {(the Department of Communications). Newspapers who take u p the incentive will be rewarded with a second full-page mono advertisement. We estimate that there will be a 50% take-up”.

So, the government is deliberately setting out to deceive voters by disguising advertising as news stories written by independent journalists. And at least one newspaper group – we don’t yet know which – is happy to prostitute its news pages and lie to its readers for cash.

This despicable practice, which mocks the role and duty of a free press in a democracy, should have been made illegal years ago, when we learned that John Laws’ agent approached the banks to offer positive commentary for big bucks. In that case, Laws pretended his spruiks were “interviews” with bank spokespeople, with no disclosure to listeners of his financial interest and contractual obligations to the banks.

The explosive Universal McCann ‘media strategy’ memo, leaked to Labor’s communications spokesman Lindsay Tanner, begs the question of whether cash-for-comment deals are now standard in this government’s advertising. And remember, Howard is Australia’s biggest media advertising spender.

A spokeswoman for the communications Minister Daryl Williams said: “The proposal came through, but it’s not going ahead”. The spokeswoman refused to say whether the decision to drop it was made before or after the release of the memo. She also had no answer to several other questions, and intimated that Williams would not provide “details” to the Australian people about what was going on. But she did take down my questions to see if Williams would deign to address them. He wouldn’t.

These were my additional questions:

1.     By what and upon whose authority did Universal McCann negotiate the cash for comment deal on the government’s behalf?

2.     Since McCann was the government’s exclusive advertising placement agency, was cash for comment standard government practice?

3.     Had the media strategy been looked at by Howard’s ‘Ministerial Committee on Government Communications’? Which approves all media campaigns?

4.     If so, had the committee approved the cash for comment arrangement?

5.     Did Williams know about it before today?

6.     Why did the government drop it?

7.     I phoned Universal McCann for coment and spoke to the company’s investment director Leslie Marriot. She took my number and said he’d get back to me. She didn’t.

There are two groups which qualify for the Universal McCann description ‘major regional newspaper networks” – APN and Rural Press.

The managing director of Rural Press, Brian McCarthy, would not comment on the specifics before reading the documents, but did say” “There’s no cash for comment in Rural Press newspapers”.

A spokesman for APN said:

“APN had been approached by McCann but were not aware of the client. APN was happy to look at a pre-oriented advertorial feature which was totally separate to the news section and would be clearly marked ‘advertorial’. If the story was newsworthy it would go through the normal editorial process and there is no guarantgee of editorial for advertising”.

Lindsay Tanner said:

“Having the government organising with newspapers to put in government advertising presented as newspaper articles is appalling. Under no circumstances would a Labor government engage in cash for comment. All advertising by a Labor government would be clearly marked as advertising. We will never use the leverage of government advertising to get positive coverage from media groups”.

That’s well and good, but what about the media proprietors? Their conduct is equally scandalous, and equally disrespectful of their readers. I suggest that an honest federal government – when we’re lucky enough to get one – legislate to outlaw the sale of news and feature stories. It’s corrupt behaviour, and debases the free press in our democracy.

The ABC Media Watch program recently exposed other newspaper cash for comment deals, this time by a Sydney suburban group called FPC Courier. It offered candidates for Saturday’s local government election an advertisement written by the candidate and disguised as a news story of the same size as a paid ad, with the implied threat that candidates who did not agree would get no coverage in the paper. (See Candidates pay, or else and The Courier “reviews”)

FPC Courier’s slogan is ‘committed to community”.

The newspaper industry waxes lyrical bout its right to be free of government regulation to protect free speech. But newspapers have no right to lie to their readers and pass off advertising as editorial news or comment. The practice is so deeply corrosive of the vital role of a free press in our democracy that it would be stamped out immediately in newspapers and on radio and TV. I’d make cash for comment deals a criminal offence.

If Mark Latham is really serious about cleaning up our democracy, then media corruption must be addresses.

COMMENT: Amen to that Margo.

Maybe a reminder for dear old Malcolm

Raphael Lemkin is the Polish-Jewish jurist who, having fled the Nazi invasion of Poland for refuge in the U.S., coined the word “genocide” in 1943. He defined genocide as:

“A coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.”

Think about Frazer

A corporate saturated enviroment

The space dominated by one group, that is english, street signs etc

The relationship to space and consciousness

Think about it Australia

THink about it Whitlam
Think about it liars


“Never Ever” trust the Howard “New Order” Liberals.

While we await some sort of “future politics” from the Liberal government of depraved indifference, let’s have a reality check on what is probably happening.

After the elections of 1998, then 2001 and then 2004, Howard introduced his policies for examples like the “NEVER EVER” GST and the more disgracefully, Work-no-Choices legislations - without any mandate whatsoever.

If we could go back to the newspapers archives, we would find that Howard’s claim was that – “he had mentioned those items during the election campaigns”. Clever when you can fool the voter “mob”.

This, to the spiteful little schoolboy, is what he alone in the “free” world claims, is a mandate!  Struth.

This person and his brown-noses have made successful political careers by lying to the voters.  His original “duty of care” statement was “Buyer beware” – and that has been his policy in four elections. He obviously believes that his success is due to his brilliant “blind-siding” of the Australian people while delivering our Nation and its resources to the U.S. and other foreign “investors”.

A game that he no doubt played while sucking up behind the bullies at his Public High School.

Each time, about half way to his choice of the election date, Howard begins his diversions and “suggestions” – the latter of which he will claim as a mandate.  You can be sure of that.

Take care because, during his expensive taxpayer funded “showcases”, like APEC and organised personal visits from world players in the “Globalisation” game, his sycophants will be making press statements about governance which have nothing to do with the promoted “Front Page” attention of the MSM.

Already I have noted the following “suggestions”:

  • The Sale of Australia Post. [Coonan]
  • The already oppressive censorship laws widened. [Ruddock]
  • An Australia-wide Nuclear Industry.  [MacFarlane].
  • The provision of a Nuclear Waste dump for the entire world. [What a hero]
  • The claim that Labor Party will raise the GST. [The facts are that Labor cannot do it without the agreement of the Liberal Senate – BUT Howard can! And IMHO he will].

So – let us all keep a check on the “mentions” of the Howard “New Order” and advise our citizens as to what these non-core ideas would mean to those not aware of the deceit.

Howard’s “Safety Nets” are merely “Webs of Deceit”.  Caveat Emptor.


And "The Pot called the Kettle Black"?

Just a few items which are, of course, typical “New Order” diversions when they have nothing of substance to say.

“Jolly Joe” Hockey stood in parliament last week and attacked Labor regarding the ETU Union Leader Dean Mighell. The highlight of his “tinkering” attack was a document he held aloft which apparently noted that Dean Mighell had been forced to resign before! Good heavens.

Sitting behind the master of “plucking figures from the air” was speaking- on his left hand side was a liberal minister named Peter McGaurin who, as Minister for Science and Technology, was forced to resign on 9 October 1997 in relation to the Travel Rorts affair.

And Joe Hockey – if you had turned around even you would have noticed that Peter McGaurin is back on the “New Order’s” front bench!

Fair dinkum Joe – forget the personal attacks on Kevin Rudd, his Wife, his Family history and his religion. Don’t go down the dirty Howard gutter about Julia Gillard not wanting to be a Mother.

Try to be a fair dinkum Australian and face up to The Inconvenient Truth. No one is listening to the “New Order” lies and diversions this time. God willing.

And then another fascinating but Inconvenient Truth.

Sharon Burrows, a Union Official and an Australian citizen, argued for Australia to be considered on the list of the World’s 25 worst labour regimes. Struth!

What will they do next? Will these Trade Unions plead for international judgement on the Howard “New Order” laws of this country? Fair dinkum.

This, when the Prime Minister, his Wife and his entourage spend almost $500,000 p.a. of taxpayer’s funds to journey all over the world to impose on world leaders for – a photo shot?

That is not international?

Tampa – Babies overboard – concentration camps – immigration crimes – they have nothing to do with the international community? But Howard will only consider Climate Change targets IF the rest of the world does!!! Goodness.

However, the post script to this example of “rats in a sinking ship” is the reaction of the infamous Peter Reith’s “top man” – Peter Hendy of the Chamber of Commerce Union.

He says that what Sharon Burrow did will hurt Australian Business because individual politics should not be played off shore.

Would anyone like to send this Corporation’s Boss a copy of the statement his servant politician, John Howard, said about the U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate – Obama ?

The Corporation’s government does not want the international community to know what is happening in our Nation to those freedoms and human rights to which the U.N. charter says we are entitled.

If the media was NOT an integral part of the Corporations Unions, Sharon Burrow should have been complimented for exposing the train of injustices committed by the Howard government on the middle to low income earners of Australia over the last 11 years.

What have you got to hide Joe Hockey and Peter Hendy?

TRUST Howard indeed!!!



Ernest William: "Sharon Burrow should have been complimented for exposing the train of injustices".

If Rudd decides to parachute Burrows into a safe Labor seat, can I pack her chute?

Falling apart

Ernest William, as I forecast a couple of months the Union idiots will cost Labor the election,Sharon Burrows has got to realise that she and the Unions are irrelevant in todays world. She represents a small percentage of the population yet she has a big mouth.

Joe Hockey will not have to do a thing to run Rudd over, Burrows and her thugs will do it for him. Watch the next lot of polls as the public react to more interference from the Unions.

You are right

 Alan Curran, it looks as though you are right in your predictions. The Unions have got one little sniff of support from Rudd and Gillard and they are starting to run amuck. On tonight's news we hear that the TWU and the good old boys from the Storeman & Packers unions are fighting. One worker from the TWU has had his foot broken in the dispute (poaching members) . Then we have an official from the CFMEU has threatened to murder someone in Victoria.

I wonder if M/s Burrows will report this to Amnesty International.

Howard uses the ADF to hide the truth in Iraq

The report, written by an army public affairs officer after a tour in Iraq, shows how newspapers printed pictures and stories issued by the ADF depicting Australian soldiers being "mobbed by friendly locals" during a public relations visit to an Iraqi market in 2005.

The press coverage of the visit was used to reassure Australians the risk to the troops was "less than previously believed".

The press did not know the visit was part of a hazardous military operation — so risky journalists were not allowed to cover it.

Defence analysts decided pictures of the event could be "used strategically" in Australia.

The coverage provided endorsement that the Australian Government had made the right decision to send Australian troops to the province, Major Michael Harris wrote in the report, published in The Australian Army Journal, an official ADF publication.


Press coverage of Australian defence force activities in Iraq, has been sanitized to make sure the message was always in favour of the Howard Government’s decision. Again we have been hoodwinked into a false believe, and the Australian Defence Force has been used to lie to the Australian public.

The Howard euphemism of "Safety Net Web".

Once upon a time, as he destroyed Medicare with a "thousand cuts", Minister for making Health & Ageing harder for the population - namely Tony Abbott - a "Safety Net" was introduced.

"Don't worry about the reduced services and increased cost to the families - we have created a Safety Net!!"  Fair dinkum.

And what do you know, the Medicare reduced benefits still favoured the wealthy and the "Safety Net" was just another scam.

Then Mr. Abbott gave a "Rock Solid and Iron Clad" guarantee that its level would not rise.  And what do you know - it did!

Now people are increasingly seeing and feeling the serious adverse effects of the "New Order" Work-no-Choices legislation.

However, "Jolly Joe" Hockey is introducing another euphemistic "Safety Net" for workers under AWAs who do not receive "appropriate compensation" for the loss of their benefits.

The $320 millions of our taxpayer funds to con us into believing that these "White Coolie Agreements" are good for us has to be added to the already $55 millions of funds already spent to do the same thing.

The Administration of this latest "Safety Net" scam would cause us to be paying PTSD to the people unlucky enough to try to make it work!

And - even if it "worked", what does it do?  The suggested petty re-reimbursements offered by Hockey and his Corporation controllers are so childish that it only confirms the low esteem the "New Order" Liberals have for Australian voters.

The end result of common sense and reasoning is that:

  • REAL Safety Nets would not be necessary if the legislation was fair and reasonable.  Therefore there must be unfair and unreasonable conditions which CAN and WILL happen. Or else it is just another non-core promise?
  • Sincerity would make a government change the legislation forcing the people to be "swinging in the air" of a legal "Circus Safety Net" would not be necessary.
  • Howard's infamous "Safety Nets" are only "offered" when the people wake up to the danger to families suffering from his legislation upon legislation upon legislation.  Confused?

Let's see these "New Order" Liberal scams for what they really are;

IMHO Howard's "Safety Nets" a merely "Webs of deceit".

"Oh what a tangled web we weave- when first we practice to deceive?"

There is no truth - in Howard's entire ministry.


There are thugs and there are ...

L Ferguson, interesting indeed that you headed your post "Standards Indeed" and launch into a rant against Labor and unions and yet not a single word against a government that has amongst its achievements complicity in a war of aggression based on lies which has resulted in the death, injury and displacement of millions of Iraqis. Perhaps this was an oversight on your part and you will remedy it in your next post.


Bob Wall, no it was not an oversight when I did not mention the Iraq War, as I fail to see what the war in Iraq has got to do with the thuggery by the Unions. People like Dean Mighell will do more damage to this country than anything the Iraq war can do.

Is there a genuine standard for Governance?

I have written that, for the last 9 years, the behaviour of the Howard "New Order" - in a once respected Australian Parliament - has behaved  beyond the pale.

I have also been expecting the slow but continuing abuse of media freedom by the Corporations to brain-wash the minds of Australians into believing that the Howard Liberals are without equal.

Of course - their history is totally the opposite - unless the "equal" is to depraved indifference!

Check the media on the small but blown up attacks on the Opposition - the Labor Party - the leader Kevin Rudd - his Wife - his childhood - his Mother and her sacrifices - his religion (by one of his own) and - having "bottomed on it's own rocks" - they attacked his Deputy.

So far the Australian people have been able to see through the gutter tactics of the Howard "never ever" dignity of Australian citizenship.

Let's consider the "fair" reporting of ALL the Australian media moguls.

On the major issue of "White Coolie" WorkChoices legislation, gentleman Joe Hockey went immediately to the Millionaire Mr. Gwinnett (Tristar) (January 2007) and pointed out to him that he is using the WorkChoices legislation to avoid the entitlements of his long-time employees.

The SMH on the 30/1/2007 reported that, Mr. Gwinnett had done nothing wrong under the Howard WorkChoices legislation.

Joe Hockey accepted that. But does that apply to the Union rep too?

 I do not believe that, no matter how disgraceful the WorkChoices legislation is, decent employers MAY NOT exploit it.

However, the Howard gift is that - THEY CAN.

Then we have a Union leader who was taped by Howard's Secret Police - who said that he had NEGOTIATED a deal with employers which gave his members (over the entire Nation) millions of dollars in pay which the employer could have avoided.

Am I right in remembering that the Howard government's basis for WorkChoices was that an individual employee could NEGOTIATE with his AWA employer?  And that it was "an employees market"?

Didn't  that mean that only the Employer could gain by "negotiation"? Or the employee?

So in this situation we have a government that heralds: "individuals can NEGOTIATE with their prospective employer" with fairness and dignity!  Fair dinkum.

The WorkChoices legislation has produced two diametrically opposed points of view.

The millionaire Tristar employer exploited the WorkChoices legislation and, as he said, I have done nothing wrong. And you are right Sir.

Now, we have a counterpart Union Representative who secretly boasts of NEGOTIATING with employers and achieving an agreement which is far above that which they expected. 

May I ask - is the ability to negotiate only available to people of reasonable education - or do the University educated predators have a "Noblesse Oblige" charitable attitude to our Australian citizens?

There are people on both sides of politics who are suffering from the present and future sale of our natural resources.

Consider this - is our present federal government concerned with the independence of  the future of our Nation - or  is Howard continuing to follow the lead of the Bush Adminisation?

We have no media - no T/V - no radio - no newspaper - only our common sense.

May we be protected!


Standards indeed

Ernest William: "Then we have a Union leader who was taped by Howard's Secret Police - who said that he had NEGOTIATED a deal with employers which gave his members (over the entire Nation) millions of dollars in pay which the employer could have avoided".

Even Rudd and Gillard would have nothing to do with this Union idiot and went into damage control. However the ordinary man in the street knows that should Labor win the next election, this sort of Union terrorism will be the norm once again.You ask, "is the ability to negotiate only available to people of reasonable education?" No, the ability to negotiate is available to any person with reasonable intelligence. However it rules out Union Officials like the one in question who are out and out thugs.

As for "Howards Secret Police" that is just showing your age and your use of typical Union speak and your willingness to go back to the bad old days when the Union thugs could bring an industry to a standstill. These sort of tactics are going to cost Labor any chance of winning, because Rudd is not strong enough to stand up to the Union Bosses.

They're not goin' anywhere, mate!

Subtitle: at least not till the last Iraqi oil-well is sucked dry.


G'day John Pratt, re your "A sharp warning for Australia?"

Without 'bothering' to dig up backing-quotes, IMHO you are toadally correct® in your thesis: the US brutal occupation will continue, despite anything contrary that the US voters may want, wish - or actually vote - for.

In addition to "All politicians lie!" it looks very much like our (US/Aus) oppositions don't properly oppose, our representatives don't properly represent, and that B, B & H actually are after the oil, after all their most strenuous denials. (I mean really daaarlings, did anyone - anyone more than slightly conscious, that is, ever doubt it?) There is 'bipartisan' support for murder for oil, and any bipartisan policy does not even offer us, we the (voting) sheople® a choice.

In addition to the lying politicians, we have a corrupt and venal MSM which operates as both channel and amplifier. Nothing but lying, colluding non-representatives hiding behind a dis-information smoke-screen.

And so endeth the myth of 'democracy.'

(Nevertheless, shouldn't the actual perpetrators get voted out? Hmmm?)


As I've mentioned before, one of the legacies of the B, B & H illegal invasion of Iraq is the now intense search for the truths behind the "All politicians lie!" furphy[1]. This furphy was developed then deployed for a very special set of circumstances, namely the unavoidable conclusion that the PM of a certain country (no names, no pack-drill) was an habitual, 'clever' - and (booringly!) routine liar. Ta ra! Enter meee: truth seeker. I report; you decide.

An undeniable motive for the invasion of Iraq was 'regime change,' the promise for Iraq was 'democracy;' what is being delivered is not.

When an AusBC or SBS announcer says "the democratically elected government of Iraq," s/he is skating on extremely thin ice. And, of course, that ice having been paid for by we the (mislead[2]) sheople®. Boo! Hiss!

Oh, alright; just one supporting document:

«George Bush’s Rollback Economics

The essays in this volume provide a remarkable portrait of the hothouse brew of corruption, cronyism, unilateralism, neoliberal rhetoric, protectionism, and good old American nationalism that has marked the Bush administration’s approach to post-war and post-disaster reconstruction.

‘Shock and Awe’ Therapy
How the United States is attempting to control Iraq’s oil and pry open its economy

“One of the most audacious hostile takeovers ever” – Wall Street Journal1

“The best time to invest is when there’s still blood on the ground.” – a delegate to Rebuilding Iraq 2 convention2

“We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labor that is available from the natives of the colonies.” - Cecil Rhodes3

“Iraq will be sold to others and will be begging the foreigners as we begged Saddam before” – an Iraqi businessman4

“The United has the biggest slice, but we’re confident there’s enough of the pie to go around for everyone.” – participant to an Iraq investor’s conference5

Iraq’s Neoliberal Constitution

[Destroy and Profit/Wars, Disasters and Corporations]

Note that there're multiple articles within the pdf.

From the "Iraq’s Neoliberal Constitution" item:

«While Khalilzad and his team of US and British diplomats were all over the scene, some members of Iraq’s constitutional committee were reduced to being bystanders. One Shiite member grumbled, “We haven’t played much of a role in drafting the constitution. We feel that we have been neglected. We have not been consulted on important issues.”20 A Sunni negotiator concluded: “This constitution was cooked up in an American kitchen not an Iraqi one.”21»


Comment: the US (UK, Aus) shoved whatever they liked down Iraq's (continuously US Jack-booted) throat. As a broken record: "So much for the myth of 'democracy.'" (Now, just why would "They hate us for our freedoms!" - eh?)

A last one (for now) from the "‘Shock and Awe’ Therapy" item:

«The election law enacted by the CPA gave the 7-member electoral commission appointed by Bremer the power to disqualify candidates and required it to implement a code banning candidates from using “hate speech, initimidation, and support for the practice of and the use of terrorism.”122 In practice, given how “terrorism” has been defined in Iraq’s context as actions directed against US forces, this code was meant to eliminate those whom Bremer called the “rejectionists” from the electoral race. One anti-occupation force, that headed by Moqtada Sadr, was not only banned from joining the elections but also became the target of an all-out military offensive and assassination.123»


Comment: Of the IMHO minimum three requirements for a proper democracy, namely 1) a valid choice of candidates, 2) full and frank information of both the candidates and their proposed policies, and 3) an aware and engaged electorate, just how many were fulfilled? If not all three - and in this case especially, if not the normally assumed 4) 'fully free,' aka unmolested by a brutal illegal occupier, say, just how thin is the AusBC's and SBS's 'democratically elected' ice? The AusBC and SBS reporters/directors are either acting fully professionally, i.e. they know what they're doing - aka propagandising us - or they're acting as imbecilic, ignorant stooges. Which?

I see on another thread some kerfuffle over AUSAID and Indon. The above mentioned pdf is a veritable gold-mine! (There's just sooo much, and it takes sooo long ... but I've looked, should you?) Here is just one of many serendipitous bits, this found in the references:

«2 “Zoellick Says FTA Candidates Must Support US Foreign Policy,” Inside US Trade, May 16, 2003. This article summarizes a May 8, 2003 speech by Zoellick.»


And Q: What's so special about that? A: Zoellick negotiated the Aus/US FTA and from AusBC/justin (Posted: 05:21 AEST) "Zoellick named as World Bank head ..."

My comment: "Haw!" - Then "Sob...[2]" (What's the connection, between Indon & Zoellick? Read on.)

Finally, a bit of speculation: we know (reference available) the that US gave 'the green-light' to certain actions of extremely dubious legitimacy in Indon (aka illegal, except that the UN has itself been corrupted, and just how many dead - murdered over there, in Indon itself, then Timor?) - and that the Aus govt. was complicit, in the sense of a) being informed (however poorly; see the later Balibo) and then b) not interfering. Part of the justification for this particular bit of pernicious war-pornography was 'the commie menace.'(So the connection: was 'our' ForPol ever independent?) Now: What if the commie scare itself was largely a furphy? A carefully manufactured, nurtured, even black-op assisted furphy, in exactly the same way now for Jihad? GWoT? I'll tell y's; looks like we've been manipulated - it means lied to, deliberately deceived - all along, mate!

And all the while as they're manipulating us with their spun-BS deliberate lies, they're ripping us massively off.

(And the greedastrophe® gets daily more unavoidable...)



[1] furphy noun (pl. -ies) Austral./NZ informal a rumour or story, especially one that is untrue or absurd.
ORIGIN First World War: from the name painted on water and sanitary carts manufactured by the Furphy family of Shepparton, Victoria. [Oxford Pop-up]

[2] multiple double entendres intentional.

A sharp warning for Australia?

A recent senior director on Asia at the National Security Council, Michael J. Green,  has a sharp warning for Australia: don't misread the direction of US policy. "It would be a mistake to read into our domestic debate about Iraq the idea that US policy will shift in a fundamental way at the next election and that Australia's political system should adjust pre-emptively to that," he says.

Although there will be policy changes, they should not be exaggerated. "I don't believe the US is just around the corner from dramatic changes in Iraq," he says. "Most Americans do not want a precipitous withdrawal if it's going to lead to chaos. I think after our election there will be more continuity than discontinuity in US policy. If the Democrats win, a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama Pentagon will be populated by national security realists."

[The Australian]

The majority of people in the United States favour the idea of planning the return of U.S. soldiers from Iraq, according to a poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 51 per cent of respondents support Congress setting a timetable for withdrawing all American troops from Iraq.

[Angus Ried]

Senator Clinton is urging the Pentagon to begin planning for an American troop withdrawal from Iraq, even as Democrats in Congress have backed off a demand that an exit timetable be tied to war funding.

Mrs. Clinton yesterday sent a letter to the defense secretary, Robert Gates, seeking assurances that military leaders had drawn up "contingency" plans so that American troops could pull out of Iraq without "unnecessary danger." She cited recent reports that Iraqi military officials are making their own preparations in the event of a rapid American exit”.

Mr. Green and Paul Kelly don’t believe the US is about to withdraw from Iraq. Someone should tell the Democrats and the people of the US.

"Freedom of the Press"?

I have always been of the opinion that the Media elects or destroys governments in Democracies.  Which, when you think about it, is a contradiction in terms?

Nevertheless, we know that the media, especially the American Murdoch’s media, was more than helpful in destroying Howard’s opposition leaders, up until now, and with selective reporting to keep Howard in government at each of the last three elections.

After all the media owners are Corporations and as such will lean towards the biggest advertisers in the community – in this case the Howard “New Order” with taxpayer funds.

So indeed it pays to advertise. The trick is to find a part of the media which can be at least respected for its reporting. On the Net I find the Age and SMH are reasonably good. On the T/V I still like the ABC (even with Howard cutting their funds and replacing their CEOs) and of course SBS.

However I do not read newspapers anymore since the disgraceful performance of the previous Howard Attorney-General Darryl Williams, (forced to retire) who made a deal through the American Company Universal McCann to offer the NSW South Coast newspapers, more advertising IF they would make sure that their Editorials favoured the Liberals. And of course that would be to the advantage of the Federal Liberal for Eden-Monaro, Gary Nairn.

It may well have given him the edge in his surprise victory in 1996? Or since?

To support this opinion, I quote from an article on the net from THE AGE dated November 1, 2004 and entitled: Goodbye to independent press if Howard has his way.

There are already constraints on our media. These could get a lot worse, warns Trish Bolton.

Paul Keating’s media mates must have been rubbing their hands with glee at the news that the Howard Government had gained absolute control of the Senate. The stoush over cross-media ownership rules has been brewing since Keating famously announced that media moguls could be princes of print or queens of the screen, not both.

Gregory Hywood, on behalf of Howard, “with his optimistic – some might say delusional – look at Howard’s proposed changes. It’s all good, writes Hywood. He advises editorial staff who are concerned about diversity and serving the public interest to look to the marketplace. He virtually ignores that vexatious problem of media concentration, having blind faith in the market to fix that too”.

Do we really want the public sphere reduced to a marketplace? Not according to a recent study released by Reporters Sans Frontieres who identify economic pressures as one of the factors that reduces the autonomy and independence of journalists”

The report FREEDOM OF THE PRESS doesn’t stop there.

It’s press freedom index, rating 167 countries, has seen Australia decline from 12th position two years ago to 41st place today.  It’s look at the constraints on the Australian press makes for disturbing reading.

The study cites the legal bullying of journalists and, in some cases, their detention and arrest just for doing their job.  It condemns the treatment dished out to journalists who were expelled by government security guards at Woomera, there to cover a hunger strike by 300 asylum seekers desperate to bring world attention to their plight.

Rupert and Kerry might be good blokes, but do we want them deciding what we see, read, hear and think about?

Not surprisingly, the report is concerned with attempts by the Howard Government to relax cross-media ownership laws.  The report argues that easing these restrictions poses a threat to press freedom and diversity.  “These measures were partly designed to satisfy Australia’s two press magnates, Rupert Murdoch and Kerry Packer” it says.

Murdoch owns almost 70 per cent of all newspapers sold…a quick leaf through Brisbane’s Courier Mail would leave Age and Sydney Morning Herald readers feeling very afraid.  And so they should be.

When Paul Keating abolished cross-media ownership laws back in 1987, Fairfax was the loser and, if Packer gets his hands on it, it will surely be the loser again.

Another example of the concentration of power and the  “funnelling” of big businesses to become part of monopolies as Howard as always wanted. Note small businesses - take a good look at Coles and Woolworths, their prices and who is to challenge them?


A rose is a rose

Ernest William, "However I do not read newspapers anymore." For somebody who does not read newspapers you do a lot of quoting from them. This might come as a shock to you, but reading the Age and SMH on the Net is the same as reading a newspaper you just don't get ink on your hands.

It is getting harder each day to believe anything you write. As for Murdoch destroying opposition leaders, I am under the impression that the Labor idiots, Crean,Beazley and Latham did it all by themselves, and Rudd will do the same thing before the end of the year.

Thank you for your interest L. Ferguson.

Welcome to an oasis of freedom in a desert of mis-information.

The purpose of this forum is free speech - which Howard has tried in many ways to destroy - it is for all available Australians to express their views on all items of world significance.

I am flattered that you have found my articles either believable, ridiculous, or un-informed.  WHY? - because the voluntary Management of Margo Kingston's Webdiary has allowed me and others, to express views which may be contrary to the "paid for comment" of Howard's Corporation's Media.

We Australians do not have the luxury of even one "free" T/V channel, Newspaper, or Radio station.

We do not have the democratic freedom to challenge the Howard "New Order" - even in their fascist Parliament.

You are joining us in asking as many Australians as possible - is there an alternative or is there not.  Agreed?

L. Ferguson - welcome to freedom of expression - and please continue to debate against my opinions and any others with whom you agree or do not.

Cheers Ern G.

The "Referendum" Election.

The next Federal Election can be the revival of the Australia of which we were once so proud, or we will slip further into the “loss of lifestyle abyss” created by the “New Order” Liberals.

The cold hard facts are that:

  1. If the Liberals and Nationalists are re-elected, there will again be no “checks and balances” since they already “own” the Senate – their dictatorship will continue to remove our basic human rights until there is no return.
  2. Conversely, if we elect a new and vigorous Labor government, at least the “real” Liberals will have a Senate who can perform the duties of checks and balances.

With a Nation whose pride has been scarred; whose citizens are being denied freedom of expression or choice; who feel the insecurity and the instability created by the untrustworthy Liberal Government – surely we deserve something better – and the Labor Party is our only chance to achieve that.

IMHO the most telling issue is that the Howard “New Order” can “never ever” be trusted.  If I am correct in that perception, or even partly so, then Howard’s overdone core and non-core promises (which are “never ever” realised) should be ignored completely.

Now that our people are apparently waking up to the “New Order” diversions, lies, obfuscations, corruption and dismantling of our services and entitlements – I for one hope that Howard will again claim viz: “I’ll stand by my record”!

We now have records of rorting ministers; incompetence; crimes both mean and tricky; both domestic and international – that we can now at least fight him from Margo’s Webdiary – thanks to the voluntary Management team.

Everyone should be perfectly clear on one issue regarding the lead up to this crucial election.  That is the “Paid for Comment” media.  Alan Jones; John Laws; Neil Mitchell; Andrew Bolt; Piers Ackerman; Malcolm Farr; Gerard Henderson and of course, Laurie Oaks et al.

We have not yet been hammered with the media’s negative blitz on everything and everybody who may interfere with Howard’s neo-satanic plans for Australia - that is - before he moves to America.

Let’s take issue with these unaccountable people now – while we still can.

The myths of Howard's management.

The "appearance" of prosperity in Australia is due mainly to two obvious moves by the Howard "New Order".  IMHO they are allowing their huge Foreign Debt to continue increasing to unmanageable figures and, allowing the Banks and Financial institutions to adopt abnormal lending practises that gives an impression of wealth.

The employment scam is exposed by fact that "part-time" employment is increasing but JOBS do not coincide with those figures.  In other words, already 30% of our Employed are under-Employed.  That is simply JOB sharing. 

Work-no-Choices has shown that the legislation provisions ensure that the "flexibility" is only the employer's "choice" - or else.  The Howard "New Order" rules (like their namesake in Germany in the 1930's) by fear, hatred and punishment.

They do this in every portfolio, whether they are blackmailing the States and Territories; threatening the Schools and teachers; or getting people off welfare - even the aged and infirm.  They de-regulate Corporations responsibilities as fast as they invent and increase them for the Citizens.

No matter how much Howard rants and raves in Parliament or how many "never ever" changes or "rock solid iron clad" promises he makes while "tinkering around the edges" - there will "never ever" be anything in that infamous attack on the Human Rights of Australians which would be acceptable in any other civilised country. Nor should it be permitted in Australia.

I quote some of the observations of Jacqueline Maley of the SMH dated May 21, 2007:

To all but the most excitable of lawyers, contracts are dry. They are wordy and un-sexy.  They rarely seen as interesting, let alone controversial, but Australian workplace agreements have changed all that.

Indeed Jacqueline - 1400 pages of "wordy"

The Agreements, which give backbone to the Federal Government's Work Choices legislation, may well be the first contracts in history to have captured the public imagination.

Or their disgust.

The journalist mentions the example put to air by the courageous producers of McLeod's Daughters which features Patrick the mechanic being pressured to sign an AWA by an unscrupulous boss.  The scriptwriter was damning of the "choices" part of Work Choices Legislation.

"It's not actually your choice," Phil the boss told his employee. "You either sign this contract or I have to employ someone else...it's either my way or..."

"I'll take the highway," Patrick replied, and out he walked.

The journalist continues:

The prominence they have [AWAs] in the current industrial relations debate is out of proportion considering only 306,393 AWAs are lodged with the Office of the Employment Advocate, and the working population of Australia is about 10,300,000.

These figures also put a large lie to the claims of Joe Hockey that 200,000 jobs have been created by the Work Choices legislation and also exposes  the arrogant dishonest claims from Andrew Robb that the figure is 300,000.

IMHO - that relatively small number of AWAs is due to the exposed punishing effect they have on the employees and their families and of course, the approaching federal election.  The scriptwriter for McLeod's Daughters is absolutely right - the employee's so-called choice is whether to accept the conditions offered or not.  This will also apply to those on Awards when that protection is finally lost.

The SMH Journalist also quotes Sian Ryan, industrial relations lawyer with Turner Freeman solicitors, describes an AWA as a "statutory contract". Good description.

"They are a creature of the Workplace Relations Act, which means their content is limited," she says.  There are only certain matters that can be included in the AWA.  If a condition is not in it, then you don't get it". 

[Emphasis added].

Howard says it must stay - then he must go. Costello states that "they" want ALL employees on AWAs.  So "they" must also go. We as a nation, have watched and allowed his predatory government consistently abdicating their Duty of Care, and for far too long.

"The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men [and women] to do nothing".

Meanwhile Costello is up to his Lord Haw Haw best (another copy of Germany in the 1930's).  For a person who has claimed many times that Paul Keating was too "full on" in Parliament, this parasite of a debt ridden false economy makes Paul look like a Salvation Army Minister.

And so - the behaviour of Mr. Gwinnett of TRISTAR infamy is not indicative of what EVERY employer WILL do but, IT IS OF WHAT THEY CAN DO. And with Howard's blessing.

There is no justice - just the dictates of the "New Order" Liberals.


PSAs and an Economic Hit Man ...

 .. talk about ugly Americans? (Spit! Spit!)

“... A former employee of an international consulting firm denounces the American global empire and its ‘corporatocracy.’”

What’s this all about? The book was published last fall [Aus-lish: Autumn; meant is circa Sep'04], but only now shows up as a best-seller? It only recently was brought to my attention by a website fan who knows I’ve long argued that the International Monetary Fund and its sister organization, the World Bank, constitute an “Evil Empire.” The two “international financial institutions” (IFI’s) were founded in 1945 during the genesis of the United Nations as “do-good” enterprises ...

Over the years, the process has been corrupted, with both the IMF and World Bank becoming controlled by the multinational corporations and their banks. When President Nixon went off the gold standard in 1971, the IMF’s reason for existence evaporated, ...

['Confessions of an Economic Hit Man' reviewed by Jude Wanniski]

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Okay, explain this term, “economic hit man,” e.h.m., as you call it.

JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring -- to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It's been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It's only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.

[Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions] [quoted by Wanniski]

(Need any more? Read the linked item; or better yet: buy the book.)


It's a matter of equity[1], aka fairness.

Q: Who owns any mineral resources?

A: In Aus, the Federal government 'looks after' them, "For all of us!" This means that they manage mineral resources; issuing prospecting 'licences,' development 'permits,' setting any 'royalties' and (one would hope) seeing to it that a fair share of any profit to be had flowed back to the 'real owners,' i.e. we the sheople®.

Q: How is it working?

A: Problematic; that is to say, that information is scarce, i.e. very hard to come by. (I wonder what that?)

The first time I got any inkling that there may be a problem in this area was when Bass Straight oil was first being developed; we heard of the concept possibly now referred-to as WPP, world parity pricing. If I understand this correctly, it means that if oil could be produced below world prices, the companies could jack-up what they sold it for to the higher level. As well as this nice little 'fiddle,' they were 'cut' a deal allowing the companies to claw-back all their up-front costs before they had to declare any profit, and an 'internal' interest rate of, say, two or three times the 'market rate' was allowed in working out those up-front costs (including all 'overheads;' now you might begin to understand why people commute to oil-rigs by helicopter.) In a word, the oil-drillers turned harvesters were given 'a very easy ride.' Too easy; someone objected and so applied a 'resource-rent' tax. More on that later perhaps; but note the priority given to recovery of up-front costs - just like a PSA!

The next inkling was hearing about some new coal-mine (QLD I think; onya Joe!), where the only income (apart from wages) we the sheople via the government would get would come from the profit (if any!) from the government-owned railway ferrying the coal to a port - possibly the same 'deal' i.e. 'profit if any' on the port facilities. (Cue Costello: "Haw, haw, haw! - Let us prey." - then riddle me this: Why complain about port facilities? If it's a government operation, why is there a bottle neck? Who is holding what up; who is holding the purse-strings, eh?) Getting back on track;

Q: What's about royalties?

A: On that particular coal-mine, looks like zero.

Finally (for here) it's not 'just' that coal-mine; the last thing I heard was that the McArthur River mine pays we, the sheople zero royalties. That mine was started in the time of Keating; there was a Lib/CP 'state' mob in. Same 'deal' there; recovery of up-front costs, getting boring. But for us, we the sheople, a bit expensive? Looks like we'll end up owning empty holes with not much more - if any more - than the wages paid to the mine workers in recompense.

There is one other way for us to get some money out'a the miners' vice-like clutches; namely tax. Note, however, that again, any tax is payable after all expenses etc, and is nominally 30%. Funny about that 'nominally,' I heard somewhere that the actual rate was closer to 5%? Also, whadda 'bout off-shore companies (like BHP-Billiton), or now Murdoch, for that matter? I mean, they wouldn't go off-shore unless there was some benefit - to them...

In case of any lingering doubt (as to the morality of 'big-oil,' say), see a 'snip' below from the 'Bolivia' thread[2]. And the damage the US does is not restricted to the 3rd world[3].


To cut a long story short here, it looks like mining, be it coal, ore or oil, is quite a dirty business - in more ways than one. Although McArthur River is Xstrata (nominally Swiss), the principles are the same. We see "Hit Man" describes the US way of business, I call it "The Harvard Business School of Sharks." Anyone wishing to swim with these sharks (Xstrata, say) has to look and do just like all the other sharks.

Whether the sharp practices I've here described (I've done PSAs elsewhere; same principles), the question comes back to equity, aka fairness; do you think we the sheople are getting a good deal? And that's with our so-called 'friends,' how about the hapless Iraqis, with the US Jack-boot brutally on their necks, hmmm?


PS I date the descent of the US from the awful A-bombing of the hapless Japanese civilians (this marks the onset of the US nukular blakmail), but Blum takes the date back into the 19thC. (And even before that, the original land rip-off.) I see that the US has spiralled downwards into immorality, as it has soared into riches. Looks like they've done it all on purpose:

In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to "be liked" or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts[my emphasis]. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

[George Kennan, Head of the US State Department Policy Planning Staff]

My comment: Daaarlings; is this really what they meant, when they trumpeted "Truth, justice and the American way!?"

This, in perfectly clear text: The US, with its blind, stupid beyond-avarice obese greed, is f**king our once jewel-like planet straight down the CO2 climate change tor-let® tubes, and dragging all the rest of us down with it. And the sheople just doze on, in their TV-comatose cargo-cult utter indifference. Ciao Bella!


[1] equity n. (pl. -ies) 1 fairness. 2 principles of justice used to correct or supplement the law. 3 a value of the shares issued by a company. b (in pl.) stocks and shares not bearing fixed interest. [Latin aequitas: related to *equal]

My comment on the definition: Haw!

[2] Who Owns Bolivia's Oil and Gas?

...widely supported by Bolivians, who see the so-called privatizations (or 'capitalizations') under former President Gonzalo 'Goni' Sanchez de Lozada as a rip-off: Bolivia received only 18% of the proceeds! Bolivians wonder why investments of some $3 billion should entitle foreign investors to 82% of the country’s vast gas reserves, now estimated to be worth $250 billion.

[Joseph E Stiglitz]

[3] World Bank, IMF & the US$ 

The petrodollar era had worked to the American financial elite's advantage, but at a horrendous cost to the people of the Third World and to those of the former Soviet Union as well. Living standards declined in all of these countries as IMF 'structural adjustment' policies opened markets to the predatory process of globalization led by US-based multinationals seeking cheap labor and raw materials. The people of the US suffered also, as America's manufacturing base was 'hollowed out' through outsourcing. While a quarter-century previously 60% of the world's export goods had carried a 'Made in USA' label, now American companies were interested primarily in 'branding' products made in China or Central America. Jobs for US workers were consequently down-sized.

[The Endangered US Dollar]

Alan Ramsey - Paid for comment - I think not.

The ultra-conservative Laurie Oaks has stated that the media moguls do not interfere with the "opinions" of their journalists. Really?

As is customary with this "paid for comment" journalist, who lacks credibility, ability or dignity - he maintains his "job" literally because he does as he is told.  Fair dinkum.

On the other hand, I have been worrying about SMH Alan Ramsey.  I have written "What has happened to Alan Ramsey"?

I remember the Charter of Independence for journalists employed by the once most dignified National Newspaper in Australia - the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Our founder, Margo Kingston was one.  But, unfortunately, as Howard often says, times have changed.

Alan Ramsey writes in a manner which I can understand - he certainly has compassion and writes in that manner. And for those reasons, I choose to quote his entry in SMH dated May 26, 2007:

Titanic spending is first-class hyprocrisy.

"If you're sick to death of duplicitous political humbugs, then done' read any further. You might do yourself damage.  On September 5, 1995, six months before voters made him Prime Minister, John Howard issued a statement as leader of the opposition.  It said in part;  "In a desperate attempt to find an election life raft, the prime minister [Paul Keating]  is beginning an unprecedented propaganda blitz using taxpayer's money.  This soiled government is to spend a massive $14 million of taxpayers' money over the next two months as part of its pre-election panic.  If the full communications barrage runs its course it could reach $50 milllion.

Alan Ramsey's expose' of Howard's hypocrisy.

Titanic spending is first-class hypocrisy.

Continuing Howard's typically dishonest statement about wasted taxpayer funds on Paul Keating's advertising viz:

"....If the full communications barrage runs its course it could reach $50 million...

"This grubby tactic will backfire.

"Taxpayers will see through it.  They don't want their money wasted on glossy advertising designed to make the prime minister feel good.  Keating is about to boost government promotion to a massive new high. It's time a brake was put on this fraud.  There is clearly a difference between necessary government information and blatant government electoral propaganda.  [Really?]  Now the government is going to use taxpayer's money on a disgraceful scam."

"In any other business,the shareholders would revolt and throw out the management which wasted their money. [Amen to that] The problem for the government is not communication.  The problem is that it is tired, it has broken too many promises, it has hurt too many people. [How prophetic - he should be in opposition more often] This propaganda blitz will make the electorate feel even more angry.[As it would]

Alan continues:

And what did Howard promise to "fix" this "shameful and disgraceful" state of affairs?  In government, he pledged, "we will ask the auditor-general to draw up new guidelines" on "what is an appropriate use of money" on government advertising.

"We" did no such thing.

Instead, after sweeping into power on March 2, 1996, "we" spent $1 billion of taxpayers' money spruiking the Government in the Coalition's first eight years back in office.  I'm not kidding.  The exact figure: $1.014 billion, between July 1, 1996 and June 30, 2004.

The annual totals: $55 million in 1996-97, $89 million in 1997-98, $92 million in 1998-99, $240 million in 1999-2000, 170 million in 2000-01, $122 million in 2001-02, $103 million in 2002-03, and $140 million 2003-04.  An average of almost $127 million a year for eight years.  Shameless humbugs indeed.

I mean, there was Howard railing against "the massive $14 million" of public money Keating was blowing in "an unprecedented propaganda blitz" to try to save Labor's hide after 13 years in power, yet as soon as the Coalition got their bums on the government benches and into the white cars only a matter of months later, "we" were immediately into an eight-year spree doing the very same thing, only this time costing taxpayers $1 billion.

And the $1 billion went straight into the pockets of the TV, radio and newspaper groups.  It did not include production and design costs of the ads or "market research and evaluation costs". How do we know?  Because the detail is there in a Senate report released in December 2005 after a public inquiry lasting a year.

Currently the media is doing their duty to the Corporations by creating news stories which just happen to include the "outraged and overacted" annoyance of the Big Business Bosses.

That is ensuring that Howard's pleading for advertising support from the non-media Corporations is there, for free, and appearing to be merely the news and not an expose' of the Corporations control over Howard and his "New Order".  Fair dinkum!

 Truth is certainly scaring Howard and his Ministers - let's hope Labor wins the election and all of "New Order" abuses of power are revealed.

Well done Alan Ramsey - that took courage.


Dean Mighell

Ernest William, why are you worrying about SMH's Alan Ramsey, you should be worrying about this mongrel - Union boss Dean Mighell. What deal has he done with Gillard?

Dean Mighell's non-deal

Well, at least it's clear what deal he's done with Labor now he's been expelled and his contribution returned ... No deal.


David Roffey, he might have been expelled but is he still in charge of the Union? Any idea how much his contribution was?

Dean doesn't run the union

The ETU doesn't actually exist separately, it is a part of the Communications Electrical Electronic Energy Information Postal Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia (CEPU for short) - and even then, he is Branch Secretary for the Southern States branch - there are also WA, SA, NSW and QLD branches - and one member of a fifteen-person national executive.

The CEPU made total donations of $4,000 in 2005 and $635,000 in 2006 (p16 of pdf), but doesn't break those down - it is likely, given the pattern, that almost all the money went to the ACTU's Rights at Work campaign rather than to the ALP. [ADDED: actually the CEPU formally came into existence at the beginning of the 2006 financial year, so you can't tell what the proportions might be between ACTU and ALP - but I think my first guess was probably right.

ETU financial statements are here - but the download links don't work properly. Total donations from the national office to all recipients were $326,560 in 2005 (last working pdf) - it is the national accounts that you get when you attempt to download the Southern States branch accounts, but checking the other states allows you to deduce that the Southern States Branch probably donated something like $16,000 or so to the last ALP federal election campaign in 2004.]

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